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Court: Broad protection for whistleblowers

WASHINGTON — The U.S. Supreme Court ruled Monday that whistleblower protections in a federal law passed in response to the Enron financial scandal apply broadly to employees of publicly traded companies and contractors hired by the companies.

The justices voted 6-3 Tuesday in favor of two former employees of companies that administer the Fidelity family of mutual funds. The workers claimed they faced retaliation after they reported allegations of fraud affecting Fidelity funds.

The case involved the reach of a provision of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act, passed in 2002 in response to the Enron scandal, which protects whistleblower activity. The measure was intended to protect people who expose the kind of corporate misdeeds that arose at Enron.

Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg said in her opinion that the law “shelters employees of private contractors that serve public companies, just as it shelters the public companies’ own employees.”