The whistleblower protections contained in the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002 are already creating a groundswell of employee complaints, with more than 300 whistleblowers claiming their employers retaliated against them for their allegations of corporate misconduct. While only a handful of claims to date have been decided on their merits, they offer important cautionary tales for corporations.

The Sarbanes-Oxley Act defines whistleblowing broadly. Complaints must be made either to someone “with supervisory authority over the employee”—rather than, for example, a coworker—or to someone working for the employer who has the authority to investigate, discover, or terminate the ...