Whistleblower Retaliation Decisions

Whistleblower_resourcesThe whistleblower retaliation provisions of the False Claims Act, Dodd-Frank Act, Sarbanes-Oxley Act and the various other state and federal whistleblower laws offer broad relief to employees who are terminated, suspended, harassed or otherwise discriminated against by their employers for engaging in protected whistleblowing activity.

Here are some of the more recent court decisions on the scope and reach of these whistleblower retaliation rules:

December 4, 2014

Sixth Circuit Finds Job Applicants Not Covered By FCA Whistleblower Retaliation Provisions

By the C|C Whistleblower Lawyer Team

And yet another important decision on the scope of the whistleblower retaliation provisions of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act (SOX).  This one by the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals in Halliburton, Inc. v. Administrative Review Board.  Before the Court was the question of whether Halliburton’s outing of an employee who complained to the SEC violated the whistleblower protections afforded under the statute.  The Administrative Review Board of the Department of Labor found that it did.  The Fifth Circuit agreed.
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November 20, 2014

Fifth Circuit Rules Disclosing Identity of Whistleblower Illegal Whistleblower Retaliation Under SOX

By the C|C Whistleblower Lawyer Team

And yet another important decision on the scope of the whistleblower retaliation provisions of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act (SOX).  This one by the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals in Halliburton, Inc. v. Administrative Review Board.  Before the Court was the question of whether Halliburton’s outing of an employee who complained to the SEC violated the whistleblower protections afforded under the statute.  The Administrative Review Board of the Department of Labor found that it did.  The Fifth Circuit agreed.
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August 14, 2014

Second Circuit Clarifies Reach of Sarbanes-Oxley Whistleblower Retaliation Protections

By Gordon Schnell

What it takes to make out a whistleblower retaliation claim under the Sarbanes-Oxley Act just got a little clearer thanks to the Second Circuit decision last Friday in Nielsen v. AECOM Technology Corp.  There, the Court wrestled with exactly what kind of complaint a whistleblower needs to make to be protected under the statute enacted in the wake of the mighty Enron debacle.  In doing so, the Court provided some useful guidance on the type of whistleblower this law was really designed to target.
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May 29, 2014

Sixth Circuit Rules on Mandatory Arbitration of Whistleblower Retaliation Claims

By Gordon Schnell

Mandatory arbitration clauses are all the rage these days with more and more companies insisting on these provisions in their dealings with customers and employees. It is no wonder why. Arbitrations are typically much less expensive, intrusive and protracted than litigating through the courts. Perhaps even more importantly, they can be used to bar class actions and discourage lawsuits altogether by imposing fee shifting and other conditions which significantly increase the risk and burden for those bringing suit. Good for companies. Not so good for their customers or employees who may have a legal claim against them.
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March 6, 2014

Supreme Court Takes Broad View of Whistleblower Protection

By Jason Enzler

A Supreme Court decision this week settled a brewing conflict among authorities on who can benefit from the anti-retaliation protections for whistleblowers in the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002 (SOX).  And the outcome is good for whistleblowers.   The Supreme Court ruled that employees of private contractors and subcontractors who provide services to public companies can be protected whistleblowers under SOX.
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August 29, 2013

Fifth Circuit Eliminates Key Whistleblower Retaliation Protections Under Dodd-Frank – A Pyrrhic Victory for Corporations

By Gordon Schnell

In a legal ruling that many corporations are surely celebrating, the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals has significantly narrowed the scope of who qualifies as a whistleblower under theDodd-Frank Act.  It is only those individuals who actually provide information to the government (through the SEC or CFTC).  If a whistleblower only reports internally, to a supervisor or through the company’s internal compliance program, there is no coverage under the statute’s protections, the Fifth Circuit says.  It is the first appellate court to reach this decision.  While it is an outcome that many large corporations have championed, they are likely to learn very soon that they, not would-be whistleblowers, are the real losers here.
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February 21, 2013

Blaming the Whistleblower – Court Rejects Novel Defense to False Claims Act Charges

By Gordon Schnell

It would seem on its face to be a rather brazen approach to defending a False Claims Act lawsuit.  A healthcare company is charged with defrauding Medicare by billing it for medications the company never provided its patients.  The company not only denies the wrongdoing.  It goes one step further by arguing that, if there were any such misconduct, it was the whistleblower’s fault by not alerting the company soon enough about the fraudulent practice.  Too clever for its own good?  Not for DaVita, Inc., one of the country’s largest providers of kidney dialysis.  That is exactly the argument the company made in defending against a recently unsealed False Claims Act case brought by several of the company’s care providers.  The only problem for DaVita is that the judge overseeing the action was not persuaded with this novel, if doughty defense.  He saw it as nothing but a legal ploy for indemnification from any potential liability under the anti-fraud statute.
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