On March 8, 2017, the Ninth Circuit issued a 2-1 decision holding that Dodd-Frank’s anti-retaliation employment protections apply to whistleblowers who report alleged wrongdoing to agencies or persons other than the SEC.  Somers v. Digital Realty Trust, Inc., No. 15-17352 (9th Cir. Mar. 8, 2017).  The decision adds to the circuit split on that question: the Fifth Circuit held in 2013 that whistleblowers must report to the SEC for the anti-retaliation provisions to apply, while the Second Circuit held in 2015 that because the anti-retaliation provisions are ambiguous, courts must defer to the SEC’s guidance which, in effect, extends protections to all those who report suspected violations, whether internally or to the SEC.  The circuit split is set to widen further, as the Third Circuit currently has before it a whistleblower case raising the same question.  In Somers, the majority held that the district court correctly denied Digital Realty’s motion to dismiss a lawsuit by one of its former Vice Presidents, who alleges he was fired in retaliation for complaining to senior management that his supervisor eliminated internal controls required by Sarbanes-Oxley.  The dissenting judge agreed with the Fifth Circuit’s interpretation limiting anti-retaliation protections to those who complain to the SEC.