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Whistleblower Alert: Internal Complaints Are Protected Whistleblower Activity, ARB Affirms

The Administrative Review Board (ARB), under the substantial evidence standard, has upheld the ruling of an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) that Domino's Pizza violated the whistleblower provisions of the Surface Transportation Assistance Act when it terminated a commercial truck driver after he made...

Foley & Lardner Labor and Employment Law Weekly Update (Week of January 23, 2012)

In a Landmark Decision, the Supreme Court Exempts "Churches" From Most Employment Discrimination Statutes Affecting "Ministers" by Gregory W. McClune The First Amendment of the United States Constitution ( U.S. Const. amend. I ) provides, in part, that "Congress shall...

Foley & Lardner Labor and Employment Law Weekly Update (Week of February 13, 2012)

Appeals Court Finds Employer Liable for Supervisor's Same-Sex Sexual Harassment by Ryan N. Parsons A recent case reminds us to take all claims of sexual harassment seriously, including when the two employees are of the same sex. In Cherry v. Shaw Coastal [ an enhanced version of this opinion...

Whistleblowing in Michigan: the Michigan Supreme Court Goes on the Record

To say that employees have had a difficult time in pursuing claims under the Michigan Whistleblowers' Protection Act would be an understatement. I did an article on the court of appeals' decisions, the vast majority of which are unpublished, and found that from 2011 to present, the court...

Fulbright's 9th Annual Litigation Trends Survey: Litigation Bounces Back; Regulation Hits High

Companies in the United States and United Kingdom dealt with more litigation while regulatory investigations reached a five-year high, according to Fulbright's 9 th Annual Litigation Trends Survey . After a one-year decline, litigation rose to 2010 levels as businesses on both sides of the Atlantic...

Florida Dermatologist Will Pay $26.1 Million to Resolve Whistleblower Claims of Kickbacks and Unnecessary Surgeries

In one of the largest-ever settlements with an individual under the False Claims Act, a Florida dermatologist agreed to pay $26.1 million to resolve claims that he accepted illegal kickbacks and billed Medicare for thousands of medically unnecessary skin surgeries. The Department of Justice agreed...

How Much Is Your Emotional Distress Worth?

Federal laws protect whistleblowers from retaliation because the government wants people to report fraud in government contracts. When Weihua Huang, a principal investigator on a National Institutes of Health (NIH) research grant at the University of Virginia, discovered unauthorized changes that...

Barran Liebman Alert: Department of Labor Affirms that Disclosing the Identity of a Whistleblower can be Costly for Employers

On March 15, 2013, the Department of Labor's Administrative Review Board ("DOL") reminded employers about the costly consequences of identifying a whistleblower when it affirmed a $30,000 award against Halliburton, Inc. In Menendez v. Halliburton Inc. , the complainant had raised...

$3.5 Million Federal Jury Award in Whistleblower Wrongful Termination Case

At first blush, implementing an employee hotline and following-up on complaints might seem a simple endeavor. The recent $3.5 million federal jury award to an employee terminated after he reported illegal conduct by a supervisor demonstrates that employers must not only have a reporting mechanism...

Obama’s Budget Plan: Protect IRS Whistleblowers from Retaliation

President Obama's proposed budget for fiscal 2014 includes good news for whistleblowers: Under his plan, the law finally would protect people who report tax cheats to the U.S. Internal Revenue Service (IRS). Although the IRS Whistleblower Program has existed since 2006 - encouraging and rewarding...

Whistleblowing Rutgers Style

One of the more intriguing aspects of the Rutgers' termination of basketball coach Mike Rice are reports , like the New York Times story, that the FBI is investigating the former assistant who released the video of the conduct that led to Rice's firing. The inquiry centers around a letter...

Supreme Court Will Decide Whether Sarbanes-Oxley Whistleblower Protections Extend to Employees of Private Companies

Excerpt: More than a decade after passage of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act (SOX), the Supreme Court will hear its first case interpreting provisions of the statute. In Lawson v. FMR LLC , the Court will address whether SOX's whistleblower protections apply to employees of private contractors or subcontractors...

Take My Word for It...Not in Michigan

Can a plaintiff survive summary disposition in a case under the Michigan Whistleblowers' Protection Act where the only evidence to support his claim is his deposition testimony that the company told him in a meeting his protected activity was the reason for his termination? The Michigan Supreme Court...

A Whistleblower's Odyssey in Michigan

Bruce Whitman was the police chief for the city of Burton. His odyssey began in 2007 when he was not reappointed as the police chief in November of 2007. He filed suit under Michigan's Whistleblowers Protection Act alleging that he engaged in protected conduct in 2004 for opposing an ordinance where...

U.S. Supreme Court: Air Marshal’s Disclosure to Media Not Barred by Law

WASHINGTON, D.C. — A split U.S. Supreme Court this morning ruled that a former federal air marshal’s disclosure of information about canceled missions to the media was not “prohibited by law” ( Department of Homeland Security v. Robert J. MacLean , No. 13-894, U.S. Sup.; See October...

More Than Words: Defending Michigan Whistleblowers' Claims

Plaintiffs who sued under the Michigan Whistleblowers' Protection Act had a difficult time surviving summary disposition motions in the trial court or sustaining a verdict in the court of appeals. Frequently the issue focused on whether the plaintiff was engaged in protected activity. This focus...

NJ Supreme Court: Whistleblower Law Protects Watchdog Employees Too

Can a person whose job is to ensure that the company follows a particular standard of care; i.e., a watchdog employee, bring an action against the company under New Jersey’s Conscientious Employee Protection Act (CEPA), the state’s whistleblower law? In case you missed it, earlier this...

Watchdog Employees May Sue Under New Jersey Whistleblower Law, Says State’s Highest Court

On July 15, 2015, in Lippman v. Ethicon, Inc. , Nos. A-65/66-13, 073324 (N.J. July 15, 2015), the New Jersey Supreme Court held that the protections of the New Jersey Conscientious Employee Protection Act, N.J.S.A. §§ 34:19-1 – 34:19-8 (“NJ CEPA” or “the Act”)...

OSHA Encourages Nationwide Adoption of “Early Resolution” ADR in Whistleblower Cases

On August 18, 2015, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration released a directive to its regional offices to adopt “early resolution” alternative dispute resolution in whistleblower cases. The directive follows a successful pilot program by OSHA in its Chicago and San Francisco regions...