Protected Activity

News & Analysis as of

The Second Circuit Tackles Employee Rights, Obscenities & Social Media Use

Employers took note last year when the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) ruled that “liking” a Facebook post can qualify as protected activity under the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA). The NLRB held that the owner of...more

ARB Rejects CFPA Whistleblower Claim On Protected Activity Grounds

On November 6, 2015, the DOL’s Administrative Review Board affirmed the dismissal of Consumer Financial Protection Act (“CFPA”) whistleblower claims of a terminated mortgage broker, concluding that the complainant did not...more

N.D. Ill. Expands Definition of Protected Activity Under Ill. Whistleblower Act

On October 29, 2015, the Northern District of Illinois concluded that an employee who called police regarding suspected shoplifting—in violation of company policy—succeeded in proving a claim under the Illinois Whistleblower...more

Divided Sixth Circuit Dismisses Compliance Officer’s FCA Whistleblower Retaliation Claim

Last week, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit rejected a former compliance officer’s whistleblower retaliation claim because she did not establish that she had an objectively reasonable belief that she was...more

OSHA Whistleblower Retaliation Complaints Are on the Rise - Is Your Company Ready?

Many employers are surprised to learn that the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) is responsible for investigating whistleblower retaliation complaints under 22 separate federal statutes, not just the...more

Cal. App. Court Finds in Favor of Whistleblower Who Never Complained of Unlawful Conduct by the Employer

In Cardenas v. M. Fanaian, D.D.S., Inc., Case No. F069305 (Cal. App. 5 Dist.), a California Court of Appeal determined that Plaintiff Cardenas could pursue a California Labor Code Section 1102.5 retaliation claim against her...more

That is SO last week - October 2015 #4

Last week, the Second Circuit Court of Appeals issued its summary decision in Triple Play Sports Bar and Grille. Affirming the National Labor Relations Board, the Court held that an employee’s Facebook comments about working...more

California Enacts a Raft of New Employment Legislation

The latest legislative session has just ended, and, true to form, the California Legislature has added more than a dozen new laws affecting employers doing business in the nation’s largest state.  These statutes are in...more

ARB Rules That Secret Recording of Workplace Conversations Can Be Protected Whistleblowing Activity

On September 28, 2015, the U.S. Department of Labor Administrative Review Board (“ARB”) held that the recording of workplace conversations can be protected whistleblower activity under the Energy Reorganization Act of 1974...more

Court Allows EEOC’s Discrimination Suit Over Religious Garb To Proceed To Jury

In an order recently issued in EEOC v Jetstream Ground Services, Inc., Case No. 13-CV-02340 (D. Colo. Sept. 29, 2015), Judge Christine Arguello of the U.S. District Court for the District of Colorado ruled that the EEOC had...more

California Court Approves Retaliation Protection For Private Police Report

The California Court of Appeal held last week in Cardenas v. M. Fanaian, D.D.S., Inc. that retaliation claims under California Labor Code § 1102.5 need not be based on a report of employer wrongdoing or promote a fundamental...more

A Review of Recent Whistleblower Developments

Second Circuit Splits from Fifth Circuit on Whistleblower SEC Reporting Obligations On September 10, 2015, the Second Circuit in Berman v. Neo@Ogilvy LLC, 2015 U.S. App. LEXIS 16071 (2d Cir. 2015), ruled that...more

UNDER THE BUS: Feds’ New Focus On Individual Wrongdoers Has Implications For Employers

The U.S. Department of Justice has recently issued a memorandum entitled “Individual Accountability for Corporate Wrongdoing.” According to the Memorandum, companies involved in federal criminal and civil investigations will...more

Seventh Circuit Decision Drives Home Importance of Prudence in Communicating With Employees About Union Issues

In AutoNation, Inc. v. NLRB, the Seventh Circuit enforced a National Labor Relations Board decision that found a car dealership to be in violation of the National Labor Relations Act for interfering with workers’ efforts to...more

N.D. Illinois Grants Summary Judgment Against SOX Whistleblower

On August 26, 2015, the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois granted summary judgment on a whistleblower retaliation claim under Section 806 of SOX, holding that Plaintiff Ivor Hill failed to establish a...more

Ingles Solamente Reglas

English-only rules are not as common as they once were, but many employers still require employees to speak English only in the workplace. Justifications for these rules vary, but the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission...more

OFCCP Issues Regulations on "Pay Transparency"

Today the U.S. Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs issued its Final Rule implementing Executive Order 13665, which prohibits federal contractors from discriminating against employees and applicants who ask about or...more

Fourth Circuit Decides Rule Exempting Certain Management Professionals from Retaliation Lawsuits Not Applicable under Title VII

Employers in the Fourth Circuit states of Maryland, North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia and West Virginia must now be mindful that employees who deal with complaints of discrimination and harassment can point to that...more

5 Workplace Safety Tips to Protect Employees from Violent Co-Workers (While Complying with Employment Laws)

According to the Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA), homicide is the fourth-leading cause of fatal occupational injuries in the United States. This article gives employers practical advice aimed at keeping the...more

California Amends FEHA, Protecting Accommodation Requests

On July 16, 2015, California’s Governor Jerry Brown signed a bill amending the California Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA), adding protections for workers who request accommodations for disabilities or religious...more

Is Protected Activity Part Of Your Job? You May Still Be Protected.

If you try to prevent or end workplace discrimination as part of your job, is it legal for your employer retaliate against you? Inquiring HR professionals, in-house lawyers, and counselors want to know!...more

Fourth Circuit Rejects “Manager Rule” in Title VII Cases

In an important recent decision, DeMasters v. Carilion Clinic, the Fourth Circuit determined that the so-called “manager rule” exception to federal anti-retaliation laws does not apply to employment cases filed under Title...more

E.D.N.Y Denies Motion For Summary Judgment In FCA Retaliation Case Based On Finding Of Pretext

The U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York recently found that two former employees of Eihab Human Services (Company) raised a genuine issue of material fact as to whether they were discharged in retaliation...more

Fifth Circuit Rejects SOX Whistleblower Claims Not Raised in Administrative Complaint; Adopts Liberal "Reasonable Belief" Pleading...

On July 31, 2015, the Fifth Circuit issued a decision that may have both a positive and negative impact on employers defending whistleblower retaliation claims under the Sarbanes Oxley Act (SOX). In this decision, the court...more

An Unsolved Problem? Claims of Post-Employment Retaliation by the (Formerly) Problem Employee

Most employers know that various employment laws prohibit retaliation against employees who engage in protected activity, such as those who complain of discrimination, report purportedly unlawful conduct, or support fellow...more

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