Placement on Leave Pending Investigation is Not Adverse Action

When employers conduct investigations into suspected employee misconduct, they often place the employee on administrative leave pending the outcome of the investigation.  The United States District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia recently held that placing an employee on such a leave does not amount to an adverse employment action under the anti-retaliation provisions of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act.  Kashif v. PNC Bank, Civil Action No,...
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Fourth Circuit Clarifies Standard For Retaliation Claims Under False Claims Act

Clifford Geiger
Clifford Geiger
12/27/2017
William O’Hara sued his former employer, NIKA Technologies, Inc., under the whistleblower-protection provisions of the False Claims Act (the “FCA”), 31 U.S.C. 3730(h), and the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (the “ARRA”), Pub. L. No. 11-5, 123 Stat. 297-99 (2009).  Essentially, O’Hara claimed that NIKA fired him for disclosing another company’s alleged fraud on the government.  The district court granted summary judgment in...
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Red Cross Stuck With Phlebotomist's Retaliatory Discharge Claim

On July 14, 2017, a Norfolk federal judge denied a motion to dismiss a former Red Cross employee's claim that her employer fired her for reporting what she believed were health and safety violations committed by her supervisor.  Easterbrooks v. American Red Cross, No. 2:17cv98 (E.D.  Va. 2017). Judge Raymond Jackson ruled that plaintiff Julie Easterbrook's claims were sufficient to state a cause of action under Virginia Code Section 40.1-51.2.1,...
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SEC Settles Whistleblower Retaliation Charge

Randi Klein Hyatt
Randi Klein Hyatt
06/20/2014
On June 16th, the Securities and Exchange Commission filed (and settled) its first Dodd-Frank whistleblower anti-retaliation claim. While employers should be aware of the new enforcement action taken by the SEC, the allegations show that even the most sophisticated employer can engage in very questionable behavior. According to the SEC Settlement Order, which can be found here, Paradigm Capital Management, Inc., a registered investment adviser,...
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Fifth Circuit Takes Limited View of Dodd-Frank Whistleblower Protections

Eric Paltell
Eric Paltell
07/18/2013
Over the past two years, several federal courts have wrestled with the scope of whistleblower protections under the Dodd-Frank Act (“DFA”), codified at 15 U.S.C. §78u-6(h).  To date, all of the district courts to address the issue have held that an employee claiming whistleblower retaliation in violation of DFA need not make a report to the Securities and Exchange Commission to be protected by DFA.  As a result, employees alleging that they...
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10th Circuit Affirms SOX Whistleblower Ruling

Eric Paltell
Eric Paltell
06/08/2013
On June 4, 2013, the United States Court of Appeals for the 10th Circuit affirmed a ruling by the United States Department of Labor's Administrative  Review Board and held that Lockheed Martin violated the Sarbanes-Oxley Act (“SOX”) by constructively discharging an employee after she complained about an executive who allegedly had sexual affairs with soldiers she met through the company's pen-pal program.  Lockheed Martin Corp. v. ARB, 10th Cir...
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