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Navigating the Maze of 
Private Sector Whistleblower 
Laws 
Richard Renner 
Kalijarvi, Chuzi, Newman & Fitch, PC 
Washingt...
Agenda 
• Intro 
• Whistleblower reward programs 
• Federal whistleblower protections 
• State statutory and common law wh...
Introduction 
• Proliferation of whistleblower retaliation and reward 
claims 
• Overlapping claims 
• Larger verdicts and...
Themes 
• Hard to find all the options, so if that quiet voice is 
saying there oughta be a law, ask around 
• The boundar...
Reward Claims 
• Federal and state FCAs 
• SEC and CFTC 
• IRS 
• FIRREA
Reward Claims – FCA 
• Looking for big or numerous frauds 
against the government 
• 30 states have “Little FCAs,” listed ...
Reward Claims – FCA 
• Advise client on respecting the seal 
• Assess whether client might be culpable 
• If new to FCA, a...
Reward Claims 
SEC and CFTC 
• Publicly traded company, or other regulated entity 
• Rewards for recoveries over $1 millio...
Reward Claims – IRS 
• For IRS recoveries over $2 million 
• Submit Form 211 http://www.irs.gov/uac/Whistleblower-Informan...
Reward Claims – FIRREA (RR) 
• Financial Institutions Reform, Recovery, and 
Enforcement Act of 1989, 12 U.S.C. § 4203 
• ...
Federal Whistleblower 
Protections 
• 22 DOL Statutes 
• Dodd-Frank 
• Protections for government contractors 
(FCA and ND...
Federal Whistleblower Protections 
• See OSHA desk aid for comparison of statutes 
• Most of the DOL whistleblower laws se...
Federal Whistleblower Protections 
Elements: 
• Protected Conduct (reasonable belief) 
• Adverse Action 
• Knowledge 
• Ca...
Reasonable Belief 
 Sylvester v. Parexel Int’l, ARB No. 07-123, 2011 WL 2165854 
(ARB, May 25, 2011), pp. 14-15 
 Now ad...
Federal Whistleblower Protections 
DOL Advantages: 
• Administrative investigation 
• Employer’s first response may contai...
Federal Whistleblower Protections 
DOL Disadvantages: 
11(c) and environmental SOL: 30 days 
OSHA is swamped and slow 
...
Federal Whistleblower Protections 
OSHA outcomes in FY 2013 (3,274 total): 
• 76 merit findings 
• 527 settlements 
• 333 ...
Section 922 Dodd-Frank Act 
Protected Conduct 
• Providing information to the SEC in accordance with § 
922; 
• Initiating...
Section 922 Dodd-Frank Act 
Protected Conduct (JZ) 
Does it protect internal disclosures? 
• Section 78u-6(a)(6) defines a...
Distinctions Between Section 806 of SOX 
and Section 922A of Dodd-Frank (JZ)
Whistleblower Protections for Government 
Contractors 
• False Claims Act, 31 USC 3730(h) 
• Sections 827 and 828 of 2013 ...
FCA Anti-Retaliation Provision 
• Broader scope of protected conduct post-2009 FCA 
amendments 
• Protects actions in furt...
NDAA Whistleblower Protection 
• Covers employees of nearly all 
government contractors 
• Excludes contractors of Intelli...
NDAA Whistleblower Protection 
• Employee-favorable causation standard 
(contributing factor) 
• Requires exhaustion at ag...
State Statutory and Common Law 
Whistleblower Protections 
• All praise to Montana for its Wrongful Discharge from 
Employ...
State Statutory and Common Law 
Whistleblower Protections 
• Possible advantages: 
• Jury trials 
• Favorable voir dire 
•...
State Statutory and Common Law 
Whistleblower Protections 
• Possible disadvantages: 
1. Some states limit scope of protec...
State Statutory and Common Law 
Whistleblower Protections 
• Further disadvantages: 
5. No attorney fees or stingier attor...
Interaction with Reward Claims 
• If retaliation claim is not under seal, it may 
open the door for employer discovery 
• ...
Interaction with Reward Claims 
• Warning client about compliance with seal 
and potential unsealing 
• Counseling current...
Claim and Forum Selection 
• Choosing between federal and state 
claims causation standard 
– Burden to establish protecte...
Claim and Forum Selection 
• Federal court removal option in some DOL 
whistleblower laws 
• Arbitration 
• Claim splittin...
Additional Issues to Address 
During Intake 
• Self-help discovery 
• Vannoy v. Celanese Corp., ALJ Case No. 2008-SOX-0006...
Additional Issues to Address 
During Intake 
• Overlapping Claims 
• Naming individual respondents 
• Ethics issues
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Navigating the maze of private sector 
whistleblower laws

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The proliferation of whistleblower retaliation and reward laws has created a complex maze of claims and remedies. This brown bag will examine issues that frequently arise in private sector whistleblower cases. The topics will include recent developments under the Sarbanes-Oxley and Dodd-Frank Acts, preserving retaliation claims while pursuing reward claims, choosing the optimal forum, minimizing claim splitting and claim preclusion risks, and exhausting administrative remedies.

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Navigating the maze of private sector 
whistleblower laws

  1. 1. Navigating the Maze of Private Sector Whistleblower Laws Richard Renner Kalijarvi, Chuzi, Newman & Fitch, PC Washington, DC (202) 466-8696 rrenner@kcnlaw.com www.kcnlaw.com Jason Zuckerman Zuckerman Law Washington, D.C. (202) 262-8959 jzuckerman@zuckermanlaw.com www.zuckermanlaw.com www.whistleblower-protection-law.com
  2. 2. Agenda • Intro • Whistleblower reward programs • Federal whistleblower protections • State statutory and common law whistleblower protections • Claim and forum selection • Intake issues
  3. 3. Introduction • Proliferation of whistleblower retaliation and reward claims • Overlapping claims • Larger verdicts and awards, e.g., Zulfer $6M SOX verdict, Zulfer v. Playboy Enterprises, Inc., No. CV 12-08263 (3-5-2014, C.D. Cal.); $104 million IRS award; $30 million SEC award. http://www.sec.gov/News/PressRelease/Detail/PressRelease/1370543011290#.VGKMOBbkkic • Increased complexity • Risks of inadequate due diligence during intake • Increased use of counterclaims
  4. 4. Themes • Hard to find all the options, so if that quiet voice is saying there oughta be a law, ask around • The boundaries are not so rigid. They move if you push on them. • There are still some big gaping holes in our web of protection.
  5. 5. Reward Claims • Federal and state FCAs • SEC and CFTC • IRS • FIRREA
  6. 6. Reward Claims – FCA • Looking for big or numerous frauds against the government • 30 states have “Little FCAs,” listed at http://www.taf.org/states-false-claims-acts • Corporate fraud may affect state and local pension fund holdings • Retaliation claims can be joined; or raised to the IG through NDAA; or both.
  7. 7. Reward Claims – FCA • Advise client on respecting the seal • Assess whether client might be culpable • If new to FCA, affiliate with someone experienced • No press release, serve only the government • Public disclosure will add burden to show client is the original source • Pleading with specificity, FRCP 9 • Venue selection may be guided by circuit and district precedent • First to file rule
  8. 8. Reward Claims SEC and CFTC • Publicly traded company, or other regulated entity • Rewards for recoveries over $1 million • Can file confidentially or anonymously • Submit Form TRC or use http://www.sec.gov/about/offices/owb/owb-tips.shtml, http://www.sec.gov/about/offices/owb/owb-tips.shtml • Have to monitor SEC and CFTC for listing of enforcement outcome, subscribe at: http://www.sec.gov/about/offices/owb/owb-awards.shtml https://public.govdelivery.com/accounts/USCFTC/subscriber/new?pop=t • First to file rule
  9. 9. Reward Claims – IRS • For IRS recoveries over $2 million • Submit Form 211 http://www.irs.gov/uac/Whistleblower-Informant-Award • Enter a notice of appearance with IRS Form 2848. • May be a long wait • If the IRS denies a claim, an appeal to Tax Court is available. See Internal Revenue Code (IRC) Section 7623(b) • Biggest award so far, $104 million
  10. 10. Reward Claims – FIRREA (RR) • Financial Institutions Reform, Recovery, and Enforcement Act of 1989, 12 U.S.C. § 4203 • Awards limited to $1.6 million • Can cover frauds against non-governmental entities • Submit declaration to DOJ
  11. 11. Federal Whistleblower Protections • 22 DOL Statutes • Dodd-Frank • Protections for government contractors (FCA and NDAA)
  12. 12. Federal Whistleblower Protections • See OSHA desk aid for comparison of statutes • Most of the DOL whistleblower laws set forth the following procedural scheme: • File at OSHA (SOL varies from 30 to 180 days) • OSHA investigates and under some of the laws, can order preliminary reinstatement • Discovery and hearing before ALJ • Appeal to ARB • Appeal to Circuit Court of Appeals • Some of the laws have a “kick out” provision
  13. 13. Federal Whistleblower Protections Elements: • Protected Conduct (reasonable belief) • Adverse Action • Knowledge • Causation (contributing factor)
  14. 14. Reasonable Belief  Sylvester v. Parexel Int’l, ARB No. 07-123, 2011 WL 2165854 (ARB, May 25, 2011), pp. 14-15  Now adopted by the Third, Fifth and Tenth Circuits. Wiest v. Lynch, 710 F.3d 121, 130-31 & n.4 (3d Cir. 2013) Lockheed Martin Corp. v. Admin. Rev. Bd., 717 F.3d 1121, 1129-1133 (10th Cir. 2013) Villanueva v. U.S. Dep't of Labor, 743 F.3d 103, 109 (5th Cir. 2014)  See also, Saporito v. Publix Super Markets, Inc., ARB No. 10-073, ALJ No. 2010-CPS-1, Decision and Order of Remand (ARB Mar. 28, 2012)(CSPIA protects food safety whistleblower even though food is excluded from coverage).
  15. 15. Federal Whistleblower Protections DOL Advantages: • Administrative investigation • Employer’s first response may contain helpful admissions • Preliminary reinstatement can prompt favorable settlement • SOX claims are not subject to arbitration • No counterclaims at DOL
  16. 16. Federal Whistleblower Protections DOL Disadvantages: 11(c) and environmental SOL: 30 days OSHA is swamped and slow OSHA investigation is not due process Pressing a legal issue may require going to ALJ Parties must be named for whole kick-out time period: Tamosaitis v. URS, Inc., ___ F.3d ___, 2014 WL 5786708 (9th Cir. Nov. 7, 2014)
  17. 17. Federal Whistleblower Protections OSHA outcomes in FY 2013 (3,274 total): • 76 merit findings • 527 settlements • 333 “settled other” • 1596 dismissed • 668 withdrawn • 74 kicked out to federal court • http://www.whistleblowers.gov/whistleblower/wb_data_FY05-13.pdf
  18. 18. Section 922 Dodd-Frank Act Protected Conduct • Providing information to the SEC in accordance with § 922; • Initiating, testifying in, or assisting in any investigation or judicial or administrative action of the SEC based upon or related to such information; or • Disclosing information required or protected by SOX, the 1934 Act, and any other law, rule, or regulation subject to the jurisdiction of the SEC.
  19. 19. Section 922 Dodd-Frank Act Protected Conduct (JZ) Does it protect internal disclosures? • Section 78u-6(a)(6) defines a “whistleblower” as someone who provides information “to the Commission.” • Asadi v. G.E. General (USA), L.L.C., 720 F.3d 620 (5th Cir. 2013) (922 does not protect internal disclosures) • Four district courts have followed Asadi and the majority of district court decisions have adopted a contrary position: • deferring to SEC regulations • Implementing legislative intent to protect internal disclosures • Avoid rendering statutory text superfluous
  20. 20. Distinctions Between Section 806 of SOX and Section 922A of Dodd-Frank (JZ)
  21. 21. Whistleblower Protections for Government Contractors • False Claims Act, 31 USC 3730(h) • Sections 827 and 828 of 2013 NDAA, 10 U.S.C. § 2409 and 41 U.S.C. § 4712
  22. 22. FCA Anti-Retaliation Provision • Broader scope of protected conduct post-2009 FCA amendments • Protects actions in furtherance of a qui tam action and “other efforts to stop 1 or more violations of [the FCA]” • Need not prove actual FCA violation • Higher burden for “duty speech” claims, e.g., compliance officers • Damages include reinstatement or front pay, double back pay, and special damages (emotional distress and reputational harm), and attorney’s fees and costs.
  23. 23. NDAA Whistleblower Protection • Covers employees of nearly all government contractors • Excludes contractors of Intelligence agencies • Broad scope of protected conduct • Gross mismanagement, gross waste, abuse of authority; violations of law, rule, or regulation relating to contracts, including competition for a contract; or substantial and specific danger to public health or safety
  24. 24. NDAA Whistleblower Protection • Employee-favorable causation standard (contributing factor) • Requires exhaustion at agency OIG • 210-day kick-out provision • Damages include reinstatement, backpay, compensatory damages, and attorney fees and costs. • Sub-grantees not covered
  25. 25. State Statutory and Common Law Whistleblower Protections • All praise to Montana for its Wrongful Discharge from Employment Act (WDEA), Montana Code Ann. 39-2-901 • and New Jersey, for its Conscientious Employee Protection Act (CEPA), NJSA 34:19, 1 year SOL • Stay away from Georgia • Time limits vary • Vary on preempting statutory claims, protecting internal disclosures, redressing non-termination adverse actions • See a chart at http://www.taterenner.com/stchart.php
  26. 26. State Statutory and Common Law Whistleblower Protections • Possible advantages: • Jury trials • Favorable voir dire • Punitive damages • Court may prefer trials to summary judgment • Usually no exhaustion requirement • Legal doctrines may be more favorable. See, e.g., Haas v. Lockheed Martin, 396 Md. 469, 914 A.2d 735 (2006) (rejecting Ricks/Chardon Rule and joining Hawaii, California and New Jersey in using actual discharge, not notice, to start time to file)
  27. 27. State Statutory and Common Law Whistleblower Protections • Possible disadvantages: 1. Some states limit scope of protection, remedies As federal remedies expand, some states will constrict their tort remedies. 2. Whistleblower plaintiff might not be attractive to jury 3. Federal claims may permit removal to federal court 4. State courts may be less guided by the remedial purpose. See, e.g., Tamosaitis v. Bechtel Nat., Inc., 182 Wash. App. 241, 249, 327 P.3d 1309, 1313 (2014)
  28. 28. State Statutory and Common Law Whistleblower Protections • Further disadvantages: 5. No attorney fees or stingier attorney fees 6. Many states do not apply a reasonable belief standard and instead require a showing of an actual violation; and 7. Sometimes the causation standard is far more onerous than contributing factor (in some states, it is sole cause). • Stay away from Georgia
  29. 29. Interaction with Reward Claims • If retaliation claim is not under seal, it may open the door for employer discovery • Breaching seal waives FCA reward, even if compelled • May require AUSA intervention • A general release is likely to waive FCA reward. Why bring a claim you cannot settle?
  30. 30. Interaction with Reward Claims • Warning client about compliance with seal and potential unsealing • Counseling current employee on internal whistleblowing where client has potential qui tam, IRS, SEC or CFTC reward claim
  31. 31. Claim and Forum Selection • Choosing between federal and state claims causation standard – Burden to establish protected conduct – Damages – Statutes of limitations • Administrative exhaustion
  32. 32. Claim and Forum Selection • Federal court removal option in some DOL whistleblower laws • Arbitration • Claim splitting and collateral estoppel • Pleading whistleblower retaliation claims
  33. 33. Additional Issues to Address During Intake • Self-help discovery • Vannoy v. Celanese Corp., ALJ Case No. 2008-SOX-00064, ARB Case No. 09-118 (ALJ July 24, 2013) (disclosing confidential company information to IRS can be protected under SOX) • Cafasso v. Gen. Dynamics C4 Sys., Inc., 637 F.3d 1047, 1061- 62 (9th Cir. 2011) (affirming damages for breach of confidentiality agreement for indiscriminate taking of 11GB of data, including privileged information and trade secrets) • SEC Rule 21F-17 prohibits actions that “impede communications to the Commission about a possible securities law violation, including enforcing, or threatening to enforce, a confidentiality agreement ” or order.
  34. 34. Additional Issues to Address During Intake • Overlapping Claims • Naming individual respondents • Ethics issues

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