Rachel Fischer

Rachel Fischer

Proskauer Rose LLP

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Addressing and Preventing Workplace Violence

The subject of workplace violence has unfortunately made headlines once again after a news anchor and cameraman were killed by a former co-worker in Virginia last week. Employers are understandably concerned and have...more

9/3/2015 - ADA Anti-Harassment Policies Criminal Background Checks Criminal Records Disability Discrimination Discrimination EAP Employer Liability Issues Harassment Hiring & Firing Mental Illness OSHA Policies and Procedures Workplace Hazards Workplace Safety Workplace Violence

Fifth Circuit Revives SOX Whistleblower Claim But Rejects Allegations Not Exhausted Before OSHA

In Wallace v. Tesoro Corp., the Fifth Circuit revived a SOX whistleblower complaint that was dismissed by the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Texas, finding that the plaintiff’s alleged belief that the company...more

8/12/2015 - Corporate Counsel Federal Rule 12(b)(6) GAAP Motion to Dismiss OSHA Reasonableness Factors Retaliation Sarbanes-Oxley SEC Whistleblower Protection Policies Whistleblowers Wire Fraud

Antitrust Whistleblower Protection Bill Introduced In Senate (Again)

On June 17, 2015, members of the Senate Judiciary Committee introduced the Criminal Antitrust Anti-Retaliation Act of 2015 (Act), a bill that proposes whistleblower protection for employees who provide information to the...more

7/13/2015 - Anti-Retaliation Provisions Contractors DOJ Employees Proposed Legislation Senate Judiciary Committee Subcontractors Third-Party Agents Whistleblower Protection Policies Whistleblowers

WSJ: Whistleblowers Claim That SEC Bounty Program Lacks Transparency

On May 25, 2015, the Wall Street Journal published an article reporting that tipsters have found it difficult to collect financial awards from the SEC after filing whistleblower claims....more

5/29/2015 - SEC Transparency Whistleblower Awards Whistleblowers

WSJ Report On Delayed SEC Whistleblower Bounty Awards

A Wall Street Journal article (subscription required) dated May 4, 2015 reports that a backlog of tips received by the SEC Office of the Whistleblower as part of its bounty program has resulted in a delay in paying awards to...more

5/7/2015 - SEC Wall Street Journal Whistleblower Awards Whistleblowers

ARB Issues Impactful Decision On Whistleblower Retaliation Causation Standard

The ARB recently addressed the standard for proving that protected activity was a “contributing factor” in adverse employment actions. It concluded that evidence showing that an employer would have made the same adverse...more

4/30/2015 - Administrative Review Board Adverse Employment Action OSHA Protected Activity Retaliation Whistleblower Protection Policies

New York Law Providing Unpaid Leave For Emergency Responders Takes Effect

New York recently passed a new leave law mandating unpaid leave for emergency responders. The law took effect December 22, 2014. Under the law, employers must provide unpaid leave to employees who serve as volunteer...more

1/6/2015 - Emergency Response Employer Mandates New Legislation Unpaid Leave Volunteers

New York Times: Bounty Programs Incentivize Wrongdoers to Collect

We have seen a number of substantial whistleblower awards make headlines this year, but a recent article on nytimes.com discusses the potential downsides of government-sponsored bounty programs: rewarding whistleblowers by...more

12/31/2014 - Enforcement Actions SEC Whistleblower Awards Whistleblowers

5th Circuit: Outing Whistleblower Equals Adverse Action

On November 12, 2014, in Halliburton, Inc. v. Admin. Review Bd., 5th Cir. No. 13-cv-60323, the Fifth Circuit affirmed an ARB’s decision that disclosing the identity of a whistleblower may constitute an “adverse action” under...more

11/18/2014 - Administrative Review Board Adverse Employment Action Corporate Counsel Employer Liability Issues Halliburton Litigation Hold Sarbanes-Oxley Whistleblowers

Study: Does The Existence Of Whistleblowers In Enforcement Actions Mean Greater Penalties?

According to an academic study published on October 6, 2014 by Andrew C. Hall, Gerald S. Martin, Nathan Y. Sharp, and Jaron H. Wilde, the presence of whistleblowers may have a meaningful impact on the outcomes of enforcement...more

11/6/2014 - Civil Monetary Penalty DOJ Enforcement Enforcement Actions SEC Whistleblower Protection Policies Whistleblowers

Administrative Review Board Clarifies Causation Burdens in SOX Whistleblower Cases

The ARB recently clarified the competing burdens of proof on issues of causation for whistleblower retaliation cases arising under SOX Section 806 and other whistleblower protection statutes. In particular, in Fordham v....more

10/31/2014 - Burden of Proof Causation Sarbanes-Oxley Whistleblower Protection Policies Whistleblowers

SDNY Dismisses Extraterritorial SOX and Dodd Frank Whistleblower Claims

Failing to heed a powerful message from the Second Circuit, overseas plaintiffs are continuing to seek to pursue SOX and Dodd-Frank whistleblower claims. On September 30, 2014, the Southern District of New York in Ulrich v....more

10/17/2014 - Anti-Retaliation Provisions Dismissals Dodd-Frank Extraterritoriality Rules Moody's Sarbanes-Oxley Whistleblowers

Second Circuit To Decide Retroactivity of Dodd-Frank Bounty Provision

As discussed in a Law360 article by Ed Beeson, the Second Circuit Court of Appeals will decide in Stryker v. SEC, No. 13-cv-4404, whether the SEC needs to pay Dodd-Frank whistleblower bounties to tipsters who provided...more

10/1/2014 - Appeals Dodd-Frank Retroactivity SEC Whistleblower Awards Whistleblowers

Watchdogs Petition SEC to Strengthen Prohibitions Against Impeding Complaints to SEC

On July 18, 2014, a coalition of plaintiff-side lawyers and government watchdog groups proposed ways to strengthen the SEC whistleblower program in two petitions filed with the SEC. The groups urged the SEC to update Rule...more

7/25/2014 - Confidentiality Agreements Corporate Counsel Employment Contract Non-Disclosure Agreement Petitions for Review SEC Severance Agreements Whistleblower Protection Policies Whistleblowers

Fifth Circuit: FCA Inapplicable to Claims Involving Private Funds Administered by Government-Created Programs

In United States of America ex rel Rene Shupe v. Cisco Systems, Inc. and Avnet, Inc., No. 13-40807 (5th Cir. July 7, 2014), the Fifth Circuit reversed a district court’s order denying a motion to dismiss a qui tam...more

7/14/2014 - Cisco False Claims Act Private Funds Qui Tam Telecommunications Whistleblowers

New York State Legislature Approves Use of Medical Marijuana; Users to Be Considered "Disabled" Under State Human Rights Law

On June 20, 2014, the New York state legislature approved a bill that would allow patients to use marijuana for limited medical therapeutic purposes. Governor Cuomo is expected to sign the bill into law. The bill will not...more

7/2/2014 - ADA Disability Employer Liability Issues Human Rights Marijuana Medical Marijuana Pending Legislation

$53 Million Paid To IRS Whistleblowers in 2013

As reported by The Washington Post, on April 4, 2014, the IRS issued its “Fiscal Year 2013 Report to the Congress on the Use of Section 7623” revealing that it paid whistleblowers $53 million in 2013. The agency said that it...more

4/9/2014 - IRS Whistleblower Awards

$6 Million SOX Whistleblower Verdict In California

On March 5, 2014, a California jury awarded $6 million to a former accounting executive at Playboy Enterprises Inc. (the “Company”), finding that the Company discharged the former employee in violation of Section 806 of SOX....more

3/11/2014 - Corporate Counsel Enforcement Actions Jury Verdicts Sarbanes-Oxley SEC

District Court Denies Summary Judgment On Internal Audit/SOX Administrator’s Whistleblower Claim

In denying a bank’s bid for summary judgment on an Internal Audit and SOX Administrator’s SOX whistleblower claim, the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington highlighted the present conflict on the...more

1/20/2014 - Adverse Employment Action Audits Banking Sector Fraud Internal Audit Functions Protected Activity Sarbanes-Oxley Whistleblowers

New York Lawyers Generally Cannot Seek Bounties Under Dodd-Frank, Says New York Ethics Committee

The New York County Lawyers Association Committee on Professional Ethics released Formal Opinion 746 on October 7, in which the Committee considered whether New York lawyers can ethically collect bounties for submitting...more

10/11/2013 - Confidential Information Dodd-Frank Legal Ethics Whistleblower Awards Whistleblowers

Recent Multi-Million Dollar Whistleblower Jury Awards — A Wake-Up Call For Employers

In what might be an unsettling trend for employers, juries in Philadelphia and Anchorage have recently issued multi-million dollar jury awards in favor of whistleblowers. Specifically, on March 22, 2013, a Philadelphia Common...more

4/16/2013 - Damages False Claims Act Jury Awards Protected Activity Whistleblower Protection Policies Whistleblowers

Amendment to NYC Human Rights Law Provides New Whistleblower Protections

On March 13, 2013, the New York City Council overrode Mayor Bloomberg’s veto of a new Local Law that amends the New York City Human Rights Law (“NYCHRL”) to prohibit discrimination against job applicants based on their...more

3/18/2013 - Local Ordinance NYCHRL Retaliation Whistleblowers

OSHA Issues Stiff Penalties To Railroad Company In FRSA Whistleblower Matters

OSHA recently announced that it ordered Norfolk Southern Railway (Company) to pay three former workers a combined $1,121,099 for violating the whistleblower provisions of the Federal Railroad Safety Act (FRSA), which protects...more

3/7/2013 - Federal Railroad Safety Act OSHA Railways Safety Precautions Whistleblowers

Ninth Circuit Affirms Dismissal Of SOX Whistleblower Claim On Causation Grounds

In a brief but notable decision, the Ninth Circuit affirmed summary judgment in an employer’s favor on causation grounds in a SOX whistleblower retaliation case. Kim v. The Boeing Co., 487 Fed. Appx. 356 (9th Cir. 2012)....more

3/6/2013 - Adverse Employment Action Boeing Sarbanes-Oxley Whistleblowers

Employers Taking Stand Against Allegedly Frivolous Whistleblower Claims

Employers who believe they have been subjected to frivolous whistleblower suits are starting to say “enough is enough,” and searching for ways to vindicate their rights and send a strong message....more

2/8/2013 - Whistleblowers

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