Blowing the Whistle on Sarbanes-Oxley: Anonymous Hotlines and the historical Stigma of Denunciation in Modern Germany

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Abstract

The Sarbanes-Oxley Act requires listed US companies as well as non-US companies listed on a US stock exchange to establish procedures for dealing with confidential, anonymous employee submissions regarding questionable accounting or auditing matters. Companies failing to comply with these ‘whistleblowing’ requirements are subject to heavy sanctions. This paper examines the compatibility of whistleblowing requirements contained in the US Sarbanes-Oxley Act with German data protection, employment and constitutional law, and analyses the roots of the historical unease with and the stigma attached to whistleblowing schemes in Germany which result from its experiences with denunciation during the Third Reich and in the former GDR.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)363-76
Number of pages13
JournalInternational Review of Law, Computers and Technology
Volume21
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2007

Keywords

  • whistleblowing
  • data protection
  • Sarbanes-Oxley

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