9th Circuit rejects Boeing whistleblowers’ lawsuit

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

A federal appeals court yesterday rejected a lawsuit brought by two Boeing auditors against the company, finding the workers weren’t protected by a federal financial-whistleblowing law because they leaked information to the news media. Matthew Neumann and Nicholas Tides were fired by Boeing after the Seattle Post-Intelligencer published a story titled “Computer security faults put Boeing at risk” in July 2007. “Leaks to the media are not protected” under the Sarbanes-Oxley Act, a three-judge panel of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled in Tides v. The Boeing Company.

The Los Angeles Times reported:

Michael Waterstone, who teaches employment law at Loyola Law School, said it was hard to say whether the ruling would significantly deter whistleblowing in public companies. “It certainly makes it less likely that they’ll report behavior to journalists or members of the media,” Waterstone said.