In a unanimous decision Thursday, the Supreme Court reaffirmed whistleblower protections guaranteed under the Sarbanes-Oxley Act.

The case, Murray v. UBS Securities, centered around the termination of former UBS analyst Trevor Murray, who was tasked with writing independent research reports on UBS’s commercial mortgage-backed securities (CMBS). Murray blew the whistle after he alleged he was pressured to write reports in a way that favored UBS’s products and sales strategies.

In its ruling, the court said whistleblowers don’t have to prove they were terminated because of “retaliatory intent”—a decision expected to set a precedent that impacts all corporate internal reporting cases in favor of whistleblowers.

The details: In 2011, two leaders on UBS’s CMBS desk pressured Murray to skew his reports to be more supportive of their business strategies, instructing him to “‘clear [his] research articles with the desk’” before publishing, as detailed in the court’s opinion.

Murray alerted his direct supervisor about the behavior but was told to “‘write what the business line wanted,’” per the opinion. Shortly after the exchange, Murray’s direct supervisor recommended he “‘be removed from [UBS’s] head count,’” despite Murray receiving a positive performance review not long prior. UBS fired Murray in February 2012.

In 2014, Murray filed a lawsuit against UBS, claiming he was fired for blowing the whistle. In 2017, a federal jury awarded him $903,300.

However, in 2022, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit overturned the decision, with the court instructing the jury that Murray prove UBS’s “retaliatory intent.”

The Supreme Court argued the “Second Circuit erred by making proof of ‘retaliatory intent’ a requirement.” Instead, the “actionable discrimination” of a whistleblower was the real burden of proof, in the court’s opinion.

With the ruling, UBS must pay Murray the $903,300.

Robert Herbst, Murray’s lead trial attorney and counsel of record in the Supreme Court, called the decision “a significant victory across the board” for whistleblower protections, whether it be at the corporate level, governmental, or nongovernmental.

“Effectively, the Supreme Court said it’s up to the employer to prove they lacked retaliatory intent,” Herbst said when reached by phone Friday. “The whistleblower only has to prove that his or her protected activity was a contributing factor.”

UBS did not respond to a request for comment.