On February 15, 2023, the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Ohio granted a defendant-employer’s motion for summary judgment on SOX whistleblower retaliation claims, holding that the plaintiff failed to establish the elements of a SOX claim, and that the company demonstrated that it would have discharged her in the absence of any protected activity. Harmon v. Honeywell
OSHA Implements Pilot Program to Streamline Complaint Intake Process
OSHA’s new nationwide year-long pilot program that took effect on February 17, 2023, will aim to streamline the whistleblower complaint intake process.
OSHA, which administers over two dozen whistleblower statutes, has seen a rising number of whistleblower complaints filed in recent years. This pilot program aims to relieve the strain on OSHA’s investigative resources by allowing an investigator to administratively…
Third Circuit Affirms Dismissal of Untimely SOX Whistleblower Claims
On January 4, the Third Circuit affirmed the dismissal of a former bank executive’s whistleblower retaliation claims, holding that two procedural errors doomed his case: he sued before exhausting his administrative remedies; and then he belatedly filed an administrative complaint after the statute of limitations had run. Jaludi v. Citigroup, No. 21-cv-1108.
Plaintiff alleged that he was demoted,…
Pennsylvania District Court Grants Employer Summary Judgment on Whistleblower Retaliation Claims
On December 6, 2022, the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania granted a defendant-employer’s motion for summary judgment on whistleblower retaliation claims brought under SOX and the Consumer Financial Protection Act of 2010 (“CFPA”). It held that the plaintiff could not prove that her alleged complaints of illegal conduct contributed to the decision to discharge her, and…
Third Circuit: Whistleblowers Are Not Shielded From Discipline for Misconduct
On August 26, 2022, the Third Circuit affirmed a grant of summary judgment in favor of an employer, holding that whistleblower retaliation protections in the False Claims Act did not protect an employee from being discharged for harassing a co-worker. Crosbie v. Highmark Inc., et al., No. 21-1641.
Plaintiff was a fraud investigator for a health insurance…
SEC Releases FY 2022 Whistleblower Annual Report
On November 15, 2022, the SEC’s Office of the Whistleblower (OWB) released its annual report to Congress covering the period from October 1, 2021 to September 30, 2022. The report highlights a record-breaking year for the SEC’s whistleblower bounty program in certain respects, explains factors that can increase or decrease award amounts, and discusses recent amendments to the program’s rules.…
Ninth Circuit Takes Broad View of Protected Activity under the California Whistleblower Protection Act
On October 20, 2022, the Ninth Circuit reversed in part a grant of summary judgment in favor of an employer, finding that the district court misapplied the substantive law of California in holding that Plaintiff’s disclosures to his supervisor and to a third-party contractor did not constitute protected activity under the California Whistleblower Protection Act. Killgore v. Specpro Pro.
OSHA Orders Company to Reinstate Whistleblowers and Orders Payment of Over $800k for Purported SOX Violations
On October 7, 2022, OSHA announced that it had ordered ExxonMobil Corp. to immediately rehire two computational scientists who alleged that they were fired in retaliation for leaking to the media their concerns about improper conduct by the company. In addition to reinstatement, the former employees were also awarded over $800,000 in back-pay, interest and compensatory damages.
Tenth Circuit Affirms $1 Million Jury Award to Whistleblower
On July 20, 2022, the Tenth Circuit affirmed a $1 million jury award to a former employee who claimed he was demoted in retaliation for reporting that his supervisor instructed him to falsify test results on a program used by the U.S. military. Casias v. Raytheon Co., Nos. 21-1195 and 21-1205 (10th Cir. 2022).
Plaintiff alleged that…
SEC Adopts Amendments to Whistleblower Program Rules
On August 26, 2022, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission announced that it had adopted two amendments to its whistleblower program rules proposed earlier this year (see our post here).
The first amendment allows whistleblowers who would have been eligible for an award under another whistleblower program that would not give them as high an award as under the…