Whistleblower Law Blog

Is It Retaliation? Exploring the Line Between Justified and Adverse Actions

July 11, 2016
Courts reviewing whistleblower retaliation claims generally apply the standard developed in Title VII retaliation cases to determine whether actionable retaliation has occurred. That standard, announced by the Supreme Court in Burlington Northern and Santa Fe Ry. Co. v. White, 548 U.S. 53, 68 (2006), requires proof that an...

6 Whistleblower Don'ts Every Employee Should Know

July 6, 2016
If you have blown the whistle on wrongdoing by your employer, there is a wealth of good advice about what you should do if you face retaliation. But it also is important to know what you shouldn’t do during the whistleblower process. Many employees ruin strong retaliation claims – and even expose themselves to legal liability...

8th Circuit Relies on 'Sylvester' Standard in Recent Whistleblower Case

June 23, 2016
My colleagues and I have written frequently about the complex web of legal issues facing corporate whistleblowers. A recent decision out of the 8th Circuit Court of Appeals, Beacom v. Oracle, looked at two of these issues: 1) the appropriate legal standard to satisfy the “reasonable belief” requirement that employees must meet...

Reporting Fraud Outweighs Privacy Agreement, Court Rules

June 21, 2016
The U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois handed down a favorable decision for whistleblowers in qui tam cases that weighed confidentiality agreements against the importance of reporting fraud. [See United States ex rel. Cieszynski Lifewatch Servs., Inc., No. 13 CV 4052, 2016 WL 2771798 (N.D. Ill. May 13,...

Protected Activity? These Three Whistleblower Retaliation Cases Help Clarify

June 15, 2016
Retaliation occurs when an employer takes an adverse action against an individual because she engaged in protected activity. This definition seems simple enough, but employees and employers alike are often left uncertain whether the actions taken by the employee constitute protected activity. Below are some examples to help...

How Teachers and Coaches Can Defend Against Sexual Harassment

June 14, 2016
Over forty years ago, Congress enacted Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 (Title IX) to eliminate sex discrimination in educational institutions. Though much progress has been made since Title IX’s enactment, gender equity issues continue to plague colleges and universities. While responsibility for ensuring full and...

Hicks v. D.C.: Retaliation Protections and the “Reverse False Claim”

June 9, 2016
Among the many laws that protect whistleblowing employees, the federal False Claims Act (FCA), and its counterpart state laws, are an important source of anti-retaliation protections. First enacted in 1863 to help prevent fraud against the Union Army, the law has been updated several times over the years, most recently in a...

OSHA Orders Employer to Pay Damages to FRSA Whistleblower

June 7, 2016
Transportation workers have to feel free to report safety hazards. That was the principle at the foundation of the recent finding by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) in a case brought by a whistleblower against the commercial rail carrier CSX Transportation Inc. In the case,...

4th Circuit Upholds SOX Whistleblower Protections

June 1, 2016
The 4th Circuit Court of Appeals – which hears appeals from federal courts in Maryland, Virginia, West Virginia, North Carolina and South Carolina – recently issued an opinion affirming a sizeable award to an employee who was retaliated against in violation of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act (SOX). The case, Deltek, Inc. v. Department...

SCOTUS Adopts New Rule Regarding Constructive Discharge Filings

May 31, 2016
All discrimination, retaliation, and whistleblower claims have strict timelines – often within 180 or 300 days – for making complaints about such potential violations to the relevant government agencies. Employees of the federal government also have just 45 days to make complaints to individuals in their agencies to begin the...

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