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Whistleblower retaliation laws provide a wide range of remedies, including damages for lost pay, emotional distress, and harm to reputation and career prospects. In addition, some whistleblower retaliation laws authorize the award of punitive damages.
Jurors often quickly grasp the serious consequences of the retaliation that whistleblowers endure, and appreciate the important public interest in ensuring that whistleblowers can disclose wrongdoing without fear of reprisal. The courageous whistleblowers that we represent put a lot on the line to disclose financial fraud, threats to public health or safety, and other wrongdoing. They deserve compensation when they are retaliated against for doing the right thing.
The table below identifies some of the larger verdicts or public settlements in whistleblower cases in recent years. These cases were handled by a variety of law firms.
The whistleblower lawyers at Zuckerman Law bring substantial experience and sound judgment to complex whistleblower cases. We are ready to go the distance to maximize a client’s recovery. Firm Counsel Eric Bachman’s wins include a $100 million settlement in a disparate impact Title VII class action and a $16 million class action settlement against a major grocery chain. He has served as lead or co-counsel in numerous jury trials, and is ready to fight for you to obtain the relief that you deserve. Before retaining a lawyer, find out their track record and how they work with clients. Click here to read reviews from our former clients.
Free Guide for Corporate Whistleblowers About Sarbanes-Oxley Whistleblower Protection
Download our free ebook Sarbanes-Oxley Whistleblower Protection: Robust Protection for Corporate Whistleblowers.
The goal of the guide is to arm corporate whistleblowers with the knowledge to effectively combat whistleblower retaliation, avoid the pitfalls that can weaken a SOX whistleblower case, and formulate an effective strategy to obtain the maximum recovery.
The SOX whistleblower guide addresses the following topics:
WHISTLEBLOWERS PROTECTED BY THE SARBANES-OXLEY ACT
- Who is protected under SOX’s whistleblower-protection provision
ELEMENTS OF A SOX WHISTLEBLOWER RETALIATION CLAIM
- Can a whistleblower sue an individual under SOX?
- Is a SOX whistleblower required to prove shareholder fraud?
- Does SOX protect whistleblowing about potential violations of federal securities laws?
- Are SOX whistleblowers required to show that their disclosures relate “definitively and specifically” to a federal securities law?
- Does SOX-protected conduct require a showing of materiality?
- What are some types of proof to show that a disclosure is objectively reasonable?
- Are disclosures made in the course of performing one’s job duties protected?
- Is a whistleblower’s motive for engaging in protected activity relevant in a whistleblower-protection case?
- Does SOX protect disclosures about fraud on the government or gross mismanagement of a federal contract or grant?
- Are disclosures about consumer financial fraud protected under SOX?
- Is there some variation in how courts interpret the scope of SOX protected whistleblowing?
KNOWLEDGE OF PROTECTED CONDUCT
- Must a whistleblower prove that the individual who made the final decision to take the adverse action has personal knowledge of the whistleblower’s protected activity?
PROHIBITED WHISTLEBLOWER RETALIATION UNDER SOX
- What acts of retaliation are prohibited by the SOX whistleblower-protection provision?
- Is constructive discharge a prohibited act of retaliation under SOX?
- Does SOX prohibit employers from “outing” confidential whistleblowers?
- Does SOX prohibit post-termination retaliation?
- Is retaliation that occurred outside of the statute-of-limitations period relevant evidence of retaliation?
PROVING SOX WHISTLEBLOWER RETALIATION (CAUSATION)
- What is a whistleblower’s burden to prove retaliation under SOX?
- In a mixed-motive case (where there is evidence of both a lawful and unlawful motive for the adverse action), does the evidence of a legitimate justification for the adverse action negate the whistleblower’s evidence that whistleblowing partially influenced the decision to take the adverse action?
- Is a SOX whistleblower required to prove that the employer’s justification for the adverse action is false (otherwise known as pretext)?
- Is a SOX whistleblower required to prove that the employer had a retaliatory motive?
- Is close temporal proximity sufficient to establish causation?
- Does subjecting an employee to heightened scrutiny evidence retaliation?
EMPLOYER AFFIRMATIVE DEFENSE
- What is the employer’s evidentiary burden in a SOX whistleblower-retaliation case?
- What damages can a whistleblower recover under SOX?
- If reinstatement is not feasible, can a judge award front pay in lieu of reinstatement?
- Does SOX authorize an award of punitive damages?
LITIGATING SOX WHISTLEBLOWER CLAIMS
- Who administers the whistleblower-protection provision of SOX?
- What is the statute of limitations for a SOX whistleblower-retaliation case?
- What level of detail is required in a SOX complaint?
- Where can a whistleblower file a SOX retaliation complaint?
- Do mandatory arbitration agreements encompass SOX whistleblower claims?
- Can OSHA order reinstatement of a SOX whistleblower?
- Where are SOX whistleblower cases litigated?
- How can a SOX whistleblower appeal an ALJ’s decision?
- If a SOX whistleblower prevails before the ALJ, can they appeal part of the ALJ’s decision?
- Where can a SOX whistleblower appeal an ARB decision?
- Can a SOX whistleblower bring a retaliation case in federal court?
- Is there a time limit for filing a SOX complaint in federal court after removing the claim from the Department of Labor?
- Does the SOX Act authorize jury trials?
- What is the scope of discovery in a SOX whistleblower case?
- Do formal rules of evidence apply in SOX whistleblower trials at the Department of Labor?
- Does Section 806 of SOX preempt other claims or remedies?
Top-Rated SOX Whistleblower Attorneys
We have assembled a team of leading whistleblower lawyers to provide top-notch representation to whistleblowers. Recently Washingtonian magazine named Jason Zuckerman and Eric Bachman top whistleblower lawyers. Both Bachman and Zuckerman served in senior positions at the Office of Special Counsel, where they oversaw investigations of whistleblower retaliation claims and whistleblower disclosures, and enforced the Whistleblower Protection Act. Let us put our unique experience and credentials to work for you:
- U.S. News and Best Lawyers® have named Zuckerman Law a Tier 1 firm in Litigation – Labor and Employment in the Washington DC metropolitan area
- Bachman and Zuckerman served on the Department of Labor’s Whistleblower Protection Advisory Committee, which makes recommendations to the Secretary of Labor to improve OSHA’s administration of federal whistleblower protections.
- Matt Stock is a Certified Public Accountant, Certified Fraud Examiner and former KPMG external auditor. As an auditor, Mr. Stock developed an expertise in financial statement analysis, internal controls testing and fraud recognition, and he uses his auditing experience to help whistleblowers investigate and disclose complex financial frauds to the government and obtain damages for retaliation. He is lead author of SEC Whistleblower Program: Tips from SEC Whistleblower Attorneys to Maximize an SEC Whistleblower Award.
- Eric Bachman has substantial experience litigating precedent-setting employment cases. His wins include a $100 million settlement in a disparate impact Title VII class action and a $16 million class action settlement against a major grocery chain. Having served as Special Litigation Counsel in the Civil Rights Division of the Department of Justice and as lead or co-counsel in numerous jury trials, Bachman is ready to go the distance to obtain the relief that you deserve.
- Jason Zuckerman was recognized by Washingtonian magazine as a “Top Whistleblower Lawyer” in 2017, 2015, 2009, and 2007 selected by his peers to be included in The Best Lawyers in America® in the category of employment law (2011-2017), and selected by his peers to be listed in SuperLawyers (2012 and 2015-2017) in the category of labor and employment law. is rated 10 out of 10 by Avvo, based largely on client reviews, and rated AV Preeminent® by Martindale-Hubbell based on peer reviews.
- The firm has published extensively on whistleblower rights and protections, and regularly speaks nationwide at seminars and continuing legal education conferences. We blog about new developments in whistleblower law at the Whistleblower Protection Blog.
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