Protected Activity Hiring & Firing

News & Analysis as of

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

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

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

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

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

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

Fourth Circuit Interprets Meaning of "Protected Activity" Under 2010 FCA Whistleblower Amendments

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit recently affirmed dismissal of an FCA complaint for failure to state a claim under the FCA’s anti-retaliation provision, 31 U.S.C. § 3730(h). In U.S. ex rel. Carlson v. Dyncorp...more

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

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