Protected Activity Hiring & Firing

News & Analysis as of

Fourth Circuit Issues Ruling Interpreting False Claim Act Whistleblower Amendments

The Fourth Circuit recently issued a decision interpreting the anti-retaliation provision of the False Claims Act (FCA). The decision provides important clarification about how courts may interpret 2009 and 2010 amendments...more

‘Where’s the beef?’ The FCA and its whistleblower protections

Thirty-two years ago, 81-year-old actress Clara Peller filmed a commercial for the Wendy’s fast-food chain. She mar­veled at a hamburger with an enormous fluffy bun and grum­bled the immortal words: “Where’s the beef?” Since...more

Saying “You’re Fired” Could Bring Labor Pains 

An Ohio employer recently learned the hard way that employers need to be cautious when it comes to communicating with striking employees about permanent replacements. By mistakenly telling them that their employment had been...more

Does New Jersey's Conscientious "Everyone" Protection Act Trump the NLRB's Exclusive Jurisdiction? State Supreme Court says "Yes"...

Executive Summary: Just when employers thought New Jersey's Supreme Court could not expand the state's whistleblower law further (as we reported last summer), the Conscientious Employee Protection Act (CEPA) once again has...more

Tenth Circuit Orders Truck Driver Who Abandoned Trailer on Interstate Highway to be Reinstated with Backpay

Seyfarth Synopsis: The Tenth Circuit held that a trucking company unlawfully retaliated against a truck driver after he abandoned a trailer on a public highway, finding that his actions constituted a protected refusal to...more

Quirky Question #284: If a tree falls in the forest and no one hears it, can you still unlawfully retaliate against it?

Question: One of our male supervisors wants to fire a female employee who complained that he was sexually harassing her. The harassment allegations appear to have some substance: he asked her for pictures of herself in a...more

Employee’s Self-Help Discovery May Be Protected Activity Under Massachusetts Anti-Retaliation Law

On May 31, 2016, the Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts held in Verdrager v. Mintz, Levin, Cohn, Ferris, Glovsky & Popeo, P.C. that an employee’s accessing, copying and forwarding of an employer’s confidential documents...more

Job Applicant Was Rejected Due to Dishonesty, Not Prior Lawsuit, Says Sixth Circuit

On April 8, 2016, the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed a judgment in favor of an employer in Hance v. BNSF Railway Company, a failure-to-hire retaliation case brought under the Uniformed Services Employment and...more

ARB Rejects SOX Claim of Employee Who Threatened Co-Worker

On February 18, 2016, the ARB dismissed a former employee’s whistleblower retaliation claim under Section 806 of SOX, concluding that he failed to show that his protected activity contributed to the decision to terminate his...more

A Negative Review May Be Protected Activity Under U.S. Employment Law

Yelp, Inc. is more accustomed to being on the giving—rather than the receiving—end of a negative review. That changed recently when a Yelp customer service employee, Talia Ben-Ora, posted an open letter to Yelp’s CEO on her...more

Court rules informal complaint about overtime could be basis of FLSA retaliation claim

The number of overtime and minimum wage claims against employers under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) continues to rise, and with that rise comes the risk of FLSA retaliation claims. As a new case from the Tenth Circuit...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

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

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

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

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

The Sixth Circuit Finds Complaints to Harassing Supervisor Constitute Protected Activity Under Title VII

A recent U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit (“Sixth Circuit”) decision could have major implications for employers within its jurisdiction. In EEOC v. New Breed Logistics, No. 13-6250, 2015 U.S. App. LEXIS 6650, the...more

NLRB Rules that Racism is a Protected Activity

Although no one reading this article would disagree with the premise that employers cannot and should not tolerate bigotry from anyone in their workforce, the NLRB apparently thinks otherwise. In a troubling decision handed...more

Unfortunately, Offensive Racial Comments Don’t Always Get You Fired (At Least Under Labor Law)

Under the National Labor Relations Act, certain union activities are considered “protected.” That is, employees engaging in union activity, or union representatives carrying out their duties in the context of grievance...more

Sixth Circuit Affirms $250K Victory to SOX Whistleblower and Provides Broad Interpretation of SOX

On May 28, 2015, the Sixth Circuit in Rhinehimer v. U.S. Bancorp Investments, Inc. affirmed a $250,000 jury verdict in favor of a former financial advisor for U.S. Bancorp Investments (“USBII”) who alleged that he had been...more

District Court Holds False Claims Act Applies to Employee Allegedly Terminated for Engaging in Protected Activity Against...

In a matter of first impression, the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania in Cestra v. Mylan Inc. No. 15-0873 (E.D. Pa., May 22, 2015) held that the antiretaliation provision of the False Claims Act...more

6th Circuit Reverses Itself, Abandons “Definitively and Specifically” Standard For SOX Whistleblower Protected Activity

On May 28, 2015, the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that an employee who reports allegedly fraudulent conduct engages in protected activity under SOX where he or she has a reasonable belief that the activity reported is...more

New York Employment Roundup: March & April 2015

Today’s New York employment law landscape is increasingly dynamic, with a constant stream of newly issued legislation and judicial opinions. To keep our readers current on the latest developments, we will share regular...more

Fenwick Employment Brief - April 2015

Ninth Circuit Reviews Enforceability of Waiver of Right to Reemployment - Does California Business and Professions Code § 16600 prohibit employees from waiving their right to reemployment with prior employers? The...more

Better Check The Brakes

The previous month’s sales numbers are final and Jane’s sales are abysmal…again. You’ve had enough and decide to fire her. You call HR to get the paperwork started. Your HR manager tells you that Jane has just left her office...more

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