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Whistleblower Protection Laws

This archive displays posts tagged as relevant to laws that protect whistleblowers from retaliation, but do not include whistleblower reward provisions. You may also be interested in the following pages:

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Wells Fargo to Fight OSHA Order to Pay and Reinstate Whistleblower

Posted  04/6/17
By the C|C Whistleblower Lawyer Team Wells Fargo will appeal an OSHA order issued earlier this week in which the agency ordered Wells Fargo to pay a former manager-turned-whistleblower a $5.4 million reward and reinstate him at the company. Wells Fargo terminated the whistleblower in 2010 after he reported problems to both his superiors and a banking ethics hotline, was given 90 days to find a new job in the...

Wells Fargo Whistleblower Wins $5.4 Million and His Job Back

Posted  04/4/17
A federal regulator on Monday ordered Wells Fargo to pay $5.4 million to a former manager who said he was fired in 2010 after reporting to his supervisors and to a bank ethics hotline what he suspected was fraudulent behavior. The bank must also rehire him, the Labor Department’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration said. OSHA concluded that the manager was "abruptly" forced to leave a Los Angeles...

January 17, 2017

New York-based asset manager BlackRock Inc. will pay a $340,000 penalty to settle charges that it improperly used separation agreements in which exiting employees were forced to waive their ability to obtain whistleblower awards.  According to the SEC’s order, more than 1,000 departing BlackRock employees signed separation agreements containing violative language stating that they “waive any right to recovery of incentives for reporting of misconduct.”  BlackRock added the waiver provision in October 2011 after the SEC adopted its whistleblower program rules, and the firm continued using it in separation agreements until March 2016.  SEC

Trump Administration Halts Retaliation Penalties, Chills Nuclear Whistleblowers

Posted  02/9/17
By the C|C Whistleblower Lawyer Team The US Department of Energy—responsible for, among things, the nation’s nuclear security—has frozen an Obama administration regulation that would have permitted civil penalties against federal nuclear contractors that retaliated against whistleblowers for reporting waste, fraud, and dangerous conditions. The original rule was to have taken effect on January 26, 2017. For...

Financial Company HomeStreet Charged With Improper Accounting and Impeding Whistleblowers

Posted  01/20/17
By the C|C Whistleblower Lawyer Team The SEC announced that Seattle-based financial services company HomeStreet Inc. has agreed to pay a $500,000 penalty to settle charges that it conducted improper hedge accounting and later took steps to prevent potential whistleblowers in violation of SEC Rule 21F-17, which prohibits taking actions to impede communication with the SEC. According to the SEC’s order,...

December 20, 2016

Oklahoma-based oil-and-gas company SandRidge Energy Inc. will pay a $1.4 million penalty, subject to the company’s bankruptcy plan, to settle charges that it used illegal separation agreements and retaliated against a whistleblower who expressed concerns internally about how its reserves were being calculated.  The SEC’s order found that SandRidge regularly used restrictive language in its separation agreements that purported to prohibit outgoing employees from participating in any government investigation or disclosing information potentially harmful or embarrassing to the company.  The SEC’s order further found that SandRidge fired an internal whistleblower who kept raising concerns about the process used by SandRidge to calculate its publicly reported oil-and-gas reserves.  SEC

December 19, 2016

Virginia-based technology company NeuStar Inc. will pay $180,000 to settle charges involving its severance agreements that impeded at least one former employee from communicating with the SEC.  The SEC’s order found that NeuStar violated a whistleblower protection rule by routinely entering into severance agreements that contained a broad non-disparagement clause forbidding former employees from engaging with the SEC.  Former employees could be compelled to forfeit all but $100 of their severance pay for breaching the clause.  The severance agreements were used with at least 246 departing employees between 2011 and 2015.  NeuStar voluntarily revised its severance agreements promptly after the SEC began investigating and agreed to make reasonable efforts to inform those who signed the severance agreements that NeuStar does not prohibit former employees from communicating any concerns about potential violations of law or regulation to the SEC.  SEC

SEC Charges KBR with Violating Whistleblower Protection Rule

Posted  04/2/15
By the C|C Whistleblower Lawyer Team The SEC yesterday announced its first enforcement action against a company for including improperly restrictive language in confidentiality agreements that had the potential to stifle whistleblowers.  According to the SEC, Houston-based global technology and engineering firm KBR Inc. violated Dodd-Frank Rule 21F-17 whistleblower protections by requiring witnesses in internal...

The Not So Friendly Skies: When "Saying Something" Leads to Retaliation

Posted  01/8/15
By Marlene Koury We all know the motto: if you see something, say something. The thirteen senior United flight attendants making the news this week saw something, said something, and, as alleged in their complaint filed earlier this week, were fired in retaliation. On July 14, 2014, while preparing to depart San Francisco with a nearly full 747 plane bound for Hong Kong, the attendants became aware that someone...

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

Posted  12/4/14
By the C|C Whistleblower Lawyer Team The whistleblower retaliation provisions of the False Claims Act offer broad relief to "employees" who are terminated, suspended, harassed or otherwise discriminated against by their employers for engaging in protected whistleblowing activity.  Congress amended the statute in 2009 to expand these provisions beyond employees to also reach "contractors" and "agents" of a...