Protected Activity

News & Analysis as of

2016/2017 Labor & Employment Observer

Activist NLRB Created More Problems For All Employers in 2016 - What Happens Under President Trump? During 2016, the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB or the Board) maintained its generally pro-union, anti-employer...more

An Employer’s Horror Story For Friday The 13th: Retaliation Claim Survives 13-Year Gap

January 2017 is one of those rare months including a Friday the 13th, which might bring to mind a horror movie where a seemingly vanquished killer somehow rises to his feet – once again! – to wreak havoc on his stunned...more

EEOC Retaliation Enforcement Guidance

At the end of August of this year, the EEOC (U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission) released a transmittal entitled “EEOC Enforcement Guidance on Retaliation and Related Issues” (the “Guidance”). The Guidance...more

NLRB: Warning Coworker that Job is at Risk Inherently Protected Activity

Earlier this month, the National Labor Relations Board (NRLB) ruled that an employee who was fired after warning a co-worker his job was at risk had engaged in inherently protected activity and must be reinstated. The case,...more

Eighth Circuit Affirms that Retaliation Under False Claims Act Requires Showing that Retaliation Was Motivated Solely by...

On May 20, 2016, the Eighth Circuit affirmed the District Court’s grant of summary judgment to defendant on Plaintiff’s False Claims Act (“FCA”) retaliation claim against his former employer. In Elkharwily v. Mayo Holding...more

Having Election News Withdrawal?

Supreme Court Decides Case on Protected Political Activity in Public Employment - Some of us may have had enough of all things election by now. But the United States Supreme Court decided a case last April that...more

NLRB General Counsel Requests To Expand Worker Protections Regarding Intermittent Or Partial Strikes

Intermittent or partial strikes are becoming more common as unions continue to push for an increased minimum wage, particularly in the quick-serve restaurant industry. The National Labor Relations Board's (NLRB) General...more

Termination of Employee for FMLA Abuse Affirmed by Fourth Circuit

FMLA abuse is an increasing problem oftentimes leaving employers searching for options. However, the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals gave employers a win in Sharif v. United Airlines, Inc., when it affirmed an employer’s...more

Opposing Employer Actions Directed at General Public Not Protected Activity

Seyfarth Synopsis: An employee who expresses opposition to an employer’s policies and practices that affect members of the general public is not engaging in an activity that FEHA protects, because the activity is not opposing...more

Finally! Something That's Not "Protected Activity" in California

It turns out that “protected activity” sufficient to make out a retaliation claim in California is not as broad as it may sometimes seem. On November 9, 2016, the Court of Appeal affirmed summary judgment for the employer in...more

Election Day Concerns for Employers: Political Discussions in the Workplace and Time Off to Vote

With the highly contested presidential election on Tuesday, November 8, 2016, many employers are concerned about political discussions in the workplace, whether those discussions can be restricted, and how to handle...more

OSHA Promulgates Final Rule on ACA Whistleblower Complaints

On October 12, 2016, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (“OSHA” or the “Agency”) announced that it had issued a Final Rule establishing procedures for the filing, evaluation, and litigation of whistleblower...more

E.D. Pennsylvania Limits Protected Activity Under SOX

In Westawski v. Merck & Co., No. 14-cv-3239 (E.D. Pa. Oct. 18, 2016), the Eastern District of Pennsylvania granted Defendant Merck & Co. (Company) summary judgment on Plaintiff Joni Westawski’s (Plaintiff) SOX whistleblower...more

OSHA Issues Final Rule On Complaints Under Affordable Care Act's Anti-Retaliation Provision

The Affordable Care Act (ACA) added Section 18C to the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) to prohibit retaliation against employees who engage in certain activities protected by the ACA. Responsibility for receiving and...more

EEOC Issues First Retaliation Guidance in Almost 20 Years

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) recently issued its first enforcement guidance on employment-related retaliation in almost 20 years. The Final Guidance is in response to numerous court rulings on...more

Seventh Circuit Issues Ruling Interpreting False Claim Act Whistleblower Amendments

The Seventh Circuit recently issued a decision interpreting the anti-retaliation provisions of the False Claims Act (FCA). The decision provides important clarifications about how courts may interpret recent amendments to...more

Restoring Decades-Old Precedent, the DOL Blows the Whistle on Fordham's "Fundamental Error"

On Friday, September 30, 2016, U.S. Department of Labor’s (DOL’s) Administrative Review Board (ARB) issued its highly anticipated decision in Palmer v. Illinois Central Railroad Company, ARB No. 16-035 (2016), correcting its...more

EEOC Releases Formal Guidance on Unlawful Retaliatory Conduct in the Workplace

After an extended public comment period, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (“EEOC”)—which is charged with enforcing federal employment discrimination laws—recently issued its final Enforcement Guidance on...more

Strike Early, Strike Often: NLRB Urged to Expand Protections to Intermittent Strikers

Seyfarth Synopsis: The Office of the General Counsel for the NLRB has asked the Board to adopt a sweeping new test that will significantly broaden the protections granted to employees who engage in frequent, short-term...more

OSHA Issues New Whistleblower Protection Guidance

In September, OSHA issued new guidance for evaluating settlement agreements between complainants and their employers to protect past and future whistleblowing activities. OSHA reviews these settlement agreements to ensure...more

What’s Good for the Goose…

Over the past few years, the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) has taken issue with employers that discipline employees over Facebook and other social media postings. The NLRB allows employees to discuss wages and other...more

What qualifies as a ‘request for accommodation’ under the ADA?

Reasonable Accommodations - According to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), “Title I of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 [ADA] . . . requires an employer to provide reasonable accommodation to...more

EEOC Issues Final Enforcement Guidance on Retaliation and Related Issues

On August 25, 2016, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission issued its final “Enforcement Guidance on Retaliation and Related Issues.” Along with the final guidance, the EEOC issued a Q&A publication and a Small...more

DOL Joins SEC in Attack on Severance Agreement Clauses

Companies cannot prohibit their former employees from collecting whistleblower awards, says the DOL in a recently released memo. Moreover, even asking employees to disclaim any knowledge of any legal violations by the...more

OSHA Addresses Sarbanes-Oxley Whistleblower Releases

We have written about SEC enforcement actions related to severance and confidentiality agreements that restrict reporting matters to the SEC. OSHA has also issued guidance regarding settlement agreements with whistleblowers...more

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