The closer in time an adverse job action occurs to an employee's discrimination complaint, the more likely it is to be considered retaliation. And, a retaliation complaint can succeed even if the initial discrimination claim was baseless, a federal court recently ruled.
With a major whistleblower story in the news recently, now is a good time to educate your managers and supervisors about whistleblower protection laws. There are more than two dozen federal laws that protect whistleblowers in various situations, including the Whistleblower Protection Act, most anti-discrimination laws, the Sarbanes-Oxley Act (SOX), the Dodd-Frank Act and others.
Have you become aware of fraud in a federal government contract or program? If you are considering blowing the whistle, you might qualify for a reward. In successful cases, whistleblowers who file under the False Claims Act are eligible for between 15% and 30% of any money recovered on behalf of the government.
A former Tesla employee has filed a federal lawsuit claiming, among other things, that he was fired in retaliation for blowing the whistle. He reported incidents of theft, improper surveillance, improper contract awards and even drug trafficking, which he alleges took place at Tesla's Gigafactory in Nevada.
Is Amazon systemically violating the rights of Muslim workers? Three Somali women who work at an Amazon fulfillment center think so. They have filed an EEOC complaint accusing the company of creating a hostile work environment for Muslims and for retaliating when they protested.
When an employee makes a complaint about a co-worker or supervisor, it's crucial to get to the truth. After all, employers must take reasonable steps to protect employees from discrimination and harassment, which are among the most common complaints. At the same time, both the accused and the accuser have reputations and careers to protect. Ideally, the employer is a neutral arbiter on the issue.
According to a recent survey by the staffing firm OfficeTeam, 14 percent of American workers have experienced a demotion -- asked to assume a lower-level role with or without a pay cut. Slightly more than half (52 percent) of demoted employees will choose to leave the company, and there is the risk of disgruntlement and potential lawsuits.
The Securities and Exchange Commission recently proposed a change to how it rewards private citizens who blow the whistle on securities violations under the Dodd-Frank Act. Under the proposal, the commission would have the discretion to increase some whistleblower awards beyond the 30-percent statutory maximum, up to $2 million. It would pay for this by discretionarily reducing some of the larger awards.
The prestigious Columbia Journalism Review (CJR) recently published an exposé on how women are treated in the field of photojournalism, and the results are stark. Women across the industry said that sexual harassment and misconduct are routine and broadly tolerated by those in power. At least two well-known male photographers are also well-known serial harassers, for example, and their company has long stonewalled complaints.
The New York Times has published a prominent report on pregnancy discrimination in America's workforce. Reporters interviewed dozens of women who claim to have suffered pregnancy discrimination, along with their lawyers and a number of government officials. They also reviewed thousands of pages of public records and court documents. They identified a clear pattern of systemic discrimination at many of our nation's biggest and most prestigious companies.