A barrage of new legislation and regulation providing expansive protections for whistleblowers has caused a surge in government investigations and retaliation and whistleblower lawsuits by employees.
Sarbanes-Oxley, Dodd Frank, the False Claims Act and a myriad of other federal and state laws provide a network of protections for corporate whistleblowers who lodge complaints regarding everything from age discrimination to wage and hour violations to securities fraud. Now Dodd-Frank has not only dramatically expanded protections from retaliation for whistleblowers but also, for the first time, created a bounty program to incentivize employees to blow the whistle on corporate fraud and misconduct.
As lawmakers make it easier for employees to make claims and reap rewards, the number of whistleblower lawsuits continues to soar. Retaliation claims now appear in more than a third of all claims filed with the EEOC, a significant jump over the past decade.
Stepped up enforcement initiatives at the Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”) and the Department of Labor have resulted in substantial penalties and recent bounty awards in the millions of dollars have galvanized the plaintiff’s bar to make whistleblower litigation a top priority.
Effective at Every Stage
To help companies respond to the challenges they face in this new climate, Littler has assembled a team of over 100 lawyers to assist employers at every stage – developing effective compliance and reporting programs to reduce the risk of claims, assisting in sensitive investigations, dealing with whistleblowers in the workplace to avoid retaliation claims, and defending employers if a retaliation claim ensues.
Our many years of experience in defending companies against whistleblower and retaliation claims enables us to quickly recognize a potential claim and help employers act immediately to minimize its impact on the company.
The Best Offense
To serve our clients’ best interests, we adopt a simple and effective approach: the best offense is a strong defense. Put differently, we have invested extensive time and expertise in crafting state-of-the art policies and procedures which employers can implement now to best position themselves in defending a whistleblower or retaliation claim in the future.
We work with clients to review policies and procedures applicable at every stage of employment – from hiring to termination. We advise clients on modifying existing policies or putting in place new internal control mechanisms designed to reduce potential claims. In addition, we advise clients on employee forms and agreements, helping them maintain compliance with ever-evolving legal requirements. Our goal is to ensure that our clients have the most up-to-date programs that give them the maximum flexibility in the face of rapidly changing legislation and regulation.
As the nation’s largest labor and employment law firm, we are able to tap into a wealth of resources and experience. The practice group includes attorneys with extensive experience litigating whistleblower and retaliation cases and attorneys who are widely respected for their work on internal codes of conduct and compliance. This collaborative approach enables us to serve our clients in an efficient and cost-saving manner.
Amidst the fast-paced changes in the law, employers rely on Littler to provide thoughtful and well-informed advice at every stage of a whistleblower case or potential whistleblower situation. We provide them with clear and practical guidance on steps they should take to address the complex issues that arise in these cases and to avoid a potential retaliation claim.
Our services include:
- Providing advice and counsel on constructing state-of-the-art compliance programs to help avoid liability and insulate a company from whistleblower claims
- Offering comprehensive training programs for managers on how to handle claims and avoid potential liability
- Advising clients on how to respond when a complaint is made to avoid potential liability for retaliation
Resources and Training
Our lawyers stay on top of the latest developments and keep our clients informed through an array of reference materials, including the nationally recognized, authoritative treatise, Whistleblowing & Retaliation: A Guide for Human Resources Professionals & Counsel, Fifth Edition written by practice group co-chair, Greg Keating.
We also have one of the most extensive employer training programs of any law firm and can provide executives, managers and human resources personnel with up-to-the-minute training on whistleblowing and retaliation, as well as ethics and compliance, through state-of-the-art delivery systems that can be tailored to meet client needs.
When litigation is necessary, Littler lawyers are uniquely positioned to vigorously defend our clients in all forums. We have extensive experience representing clients in whistleblower and retaliation cases before the Department of Labor and other federal and state agencies, as well as in state and federal courts. Our lawyers include former federal prosecutors who know government’s internal workings and its strategies and priorities in handling cases. Despite the enhanced emphasis and resources behind these types of cases, we have reached satisfactory resolutions for many of our clients.
Our clients know that we bring the confidence that comes from years of effectively dealing with whistleblower and retaliation cases to provide them with the best possible legal services.