Current Issue

Subscriber only, premium content. Sunday, September 11

Helping employers contend with the heightened threat of whistle-blowers

New state and federal laws give financial incentives to whistle-blowers to come forward, reinforcing the need for employers to develop a strategy to avoid these allegations.

  1. Identify & Analyze

    Whistle-blowers present threats to employers

  2. Evaluate & Implement

    Encourage whistle-blowers to go to their firms first

  3. Monitor & Adjust

    Benefits of in-house whistle-blower reporting

A corporate culture that encourages employees to feel comfortable reporting problems internally is the most effective factor in discouraging whistle-blowers from first going to federal agencies, legal experts say. ›› More

Retaliation by supervisors and company executives against employees for making discrimination, harassment, whistle-blower or other complaints is an expanding liability for employers that shows no signs of waning. ›› More

WASHINGTON—Employers should make sure their internal compliance procedures are strong and effective in light of a rule that is expected to encourage whistle-blower tips to the Securities and Exchange Commission.

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Whistle-blowers face growing employer retaliation

A study shows whistle-blowers who go to higher management and their firm’s hot lines are more likely to face retaliation than those who go to supervisors.

Dodd-Frank and Whistle-blowers

Here are the final rules implementing the whistle-blower program of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Protection Act.

An appeals court has upheld a coal miner's reinstatement to his job, concluding his termination was because of his whistle-blowing activity. ›› More

Tyco Electronics Corp., now known as TE Connectivity Ltd., must face whistle-blower claims brought by a former accountant who charges he was terminated in retaliation for pointing out improper accounting practices. ›› More

A police officer, who was fired after complaining to the FBI about being forced to release a politically connected driver he had arrested, can pursue his wrongful termination claim, an appeals court ruled. ›› More

A federal jury in Charlottesville, Va., has awarded $819,000 to an academic whistle-blower who charged he was retaliated against after he complained his mentor at the University of Virginia had misappropriated National Institutes of Health Funds. ›› More

(Reuters) — Whistle-blower Bradley Birkenfeld, whose $104 million reward from the U.S. Internal Revenue Service set a record three weeks ago, has helped set off a rush of would-be imitators hoping to cash in on a government program to catch tax cheats. ›› More

Former Pennsylvania State University assistant football coach Michael J. McQueary on Tuesday filed a whistle-blower lawsuit against the university claiming unfair termination, defamation and misrepresentation in connection with the child sexual abuse allegations against former assistant football coach Gerald A. Sandusky. ›› More

A Mississippi medical equipment and supply company will pay $1.8 million to settle claims it had improperly billed Medicare in a case initially brought by whistle-blowers, said the U.S. attorney's office in Birmingham, Ala., on Wednesday. ›› More

A trucking firm has been ordered to reinstate a whistle-blower truck driver who refused to drive an explosive-filled truck with a co-driver who smoked and pay $315,000 in back wages and damages, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration said Tuesday. ›› More

The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission has awarded its first payout of $50,000 to a whistle-blower as part of a new program to reward people who provide evidence of securities fraud, the agency said Tuesday. ›› More

A U.S. district judge on Monday dismissed all charges filed against an India-based software company by a whistle-blower who said he was threatened after complaining about his firm's visa practices. ›› More

SEATTLE—T-Mobile USA Inc. and its parent company, Deutsche Telecom A.G., have been ordered by the U.S. Department of Labor to pay $345,972 to a worker allegedly fired for being a whistle-blower. ›› More

WASHINGTON—The Justice Department has appointed a whistle-blower to ombudsman to educate its staff on the increasing importance of whistle-blowers in the department's work. ›› More

BURBANK, Calif.—An air carrier has been ordered by the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration to reinstate and compensate a whistle-blower pilot whom it said was discharged for raising safety concerns and for contacting the Federal Aviation Administration about those concerns. ›› More

WASHINGTON—Hospital management company Universal Health Services Inc. and two subsidiaries have agreed to pay $6.9 million to settle a False Claims Act lawsuit alleging they provided substandard psychiatric treatment to adolescents and other Medicaid fraud allegations. ›› More

WASHINGTON—Medical diagnostic testing company LifeWatch Services Inc. has agreed to pay $18.5 million to settle charges that it submitted false claims to federal health care programs, the Department of Justice said Friday. ›› More

The financial and reputational risks of whistle-blower claims are enormous, and they are increasing. Steven J. Pearlman, partner and co-head of Proskauer Rose L.L.P.'s Whistleblowing and Retaliation Group, offers 10 steps for employers to consider that will help reduce their whistle-blower risks and exposures. ›› More

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The Occupational Safety & Health Administration's Program

OSHA's whistleblower protection program enforces the whistle-blower provisions of 21 whistle-blower statutes.

President Barack Obama issued a directive Wednesday providing whistle-blower protection to federal security agency employees. ›› More

Failing to renew a whistle-blowing worker's contract can be considered a violation of the state whistle-blower protection law, says a Michigan state appellate court in a divided opinion. ›› More

The growing number of whistle-blower lawsuits filed with the Occupational Health and Safety Administration is slowing resolution of claims, which means these workers are staying at their companies longer, according to a study by law firm Seyfarth Shaw L.L.P. ›› More

WASHINGTON—Republicans members of a House subcommittee have approved a bill that would modify the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act requirement that whistle-blowers to report potential misconduct to their company before going to the Securities and Exchange Commission. ›› More

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Whistle-blower Legislation

The Washington, D.C.-based Government Accountability Project, an advocacy organization, provides up-to-date information on whistle-blower-related legislation.

A Tip Sheet

Here are some tips on how employers should address the whistle-blower provisions of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act.