High Court Narrows Dodd-Frank “Whistleblowers”

By Chance Hill The U.S. Supreme Court today endorsed a narrow definition of the term “whistleblower” in the context of the Dodd-Frank Act.  Specifically, the Court ruled in Digital Realty Trust Inc. v. Paul Somers that whistleblowers qualify for the special relief provided under Dodd-Frank only if they take their allegations to the U.S. Securities […]

♫ Let It Go, Let it Go ♫

By Beth Ann Lennon When most people think of employment law problems arising from the use of social media, they envision irresponsible employees taking to the internet to rant about their employer. However, a recent case out of Oregon shows that employers can cause just as much trouble as their employees when they decide to overshare […]

Trump Win=Ethics Unchained?

By Bill Wright Imagine a corporate code of ethics that stated explicitly the company would not punish any employee for providing company information to the SEC, OFCCP, EEOC or NLRB. Imagine that every waiver agreement included the provision that the former employee could still volunteer company documents to the SEC and vie for a Dodd-Frank […]

3 Severance Agreement Time-bombs

By John Alan Doran Yesterday the SEC entered a cease and desist agreement with BlueLinx Holdings, fining the company $265,000.00 for including unlawful confidentiality and waiver provisions in its severance agreements.  BlueLinx used a variety of severance agreements or letters with its departing employees.  Most of these prohibited the employee from sharing the company’s confidential […]

Protection for (Some) HR Managers

By Andy Volin Like most employment statutes, the Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”) prohibits retaliation against employees who file complaints. The Supreme Court ruled in 2011 that this protection even extends to oral complaints at work. Recently, the Ninth Circuit decided that even a management employee in HR could assert retaliation based on a report […]

The Customer Is Sometimes Right

By Elizabeth Chilcoat You’re a subcontractor with employees at your customer’s worksite. The customer orders you to remove an employee from the project. In fact, the customer emails you that the employee’s repeated safety complaints are killing them and they want him gone immediately. In the inevitable whistleblower suit, can you be liable if your […]

Whistling Arbitration

By Lori Phillips In Santoro v. Accenture Federal Services, LLC, No. 12-2561 (4th Cir. May 5, 2014), an employee brought ADEA, FMLA and ERISA claims against a former employer.  The employer moved to compel arbitration, and the employee opposed the motion, citing the Dodd-Frank Act – even though the employee had no claim under the […]

SOX Un-Boxed

By Bill Wright Prepare for DOL whistleblower litigation.  The Supreme Court has ruled on the scope of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act whistleblower provision.  According to SCOTUS, SOX allows any employee to bring a whistleblower complaint, so long as the employer does business with a publicly-traded company.  At the extreme edge, as the Justices noted, this means, […]

Employers Beware: Agency May Reinstate Whistleblowers following Investigation

By Patrick Miller Under some statutes, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (“OSHA”) may order the reinstatement of former employees as part of its conclusions after a whistleblower investigation, even while the employer’s administrative appeal is pending. OSHA is responsible for investigating claims of retaliation under numerous federal statutes, including the Occupational Safety and Health […]

Can you hear the whistle blowing?

By Bill Wright The courts continue to explain the burdens applicable to certain whistleblower statutes enforced by the U.S. Department of Labor (“DOL”). The statutes that use the procedure adopted by the Sarbanes-Oxley Act require the complainant to prove by a preponderance of the evidence that protected activity was a contributing factor to an adverse […]