Image of Is a whistleblower's motive for engaging in protected activity relevant in a whistleblower protection case?

Is a whistleblower’s motive for engaging in protected activity relevant in a whistleblower protection case?

ARB’s long-standing precedent that a whistleblower’s motives for engaging in protected conduct are irrelevant and urging caution where the purported basis of the adverse action (here the alleged delay in elevating a violation to a manger) is so closely linked to the protected activity (reporting a violation).  See Henderson v. Wheeling & Lake Erie Ry., ARB No. 11-013, ALJ No. 2010-FRS-012, slip op. at 14 (ARB Oct. 26, 2012) (“Effective enforcement of the Act requires presumptive causation under circumstances such as Henderson’s, where viewing the ‘untimely filing of medical injury’ as an ‘independent’ ground for termination could easily be used as a pretext for eviscerating protection for injured employees.”); Malmanger v. Air Evac EMS, Inc., ARB No. 08-071, slip op. at 10-11, ALJ No. 2007-AIR-8 (ARB July 2, 2009) (“There is no requirement that a whistleblower’s actions be motivated by safety concerns.  All that is required is that the whistleblower have a reasonable belief that that the respondent is violating the law.  Other motives he may have for engaging in protected activity are irrelevant.”).

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Jason Zuckerman, Principal of Zuckerman Law, litigates whistleblower retaliation, qui tam, wrongful discharge, and other employment-related claims. He is rated 10 out of 10 by Avvo, was recognized by Washingtonian magazine as a “Top Whistleblower Lawyer” in 2015 and selected by his peers to be included in The Best Lawyers in America® and in SuperLawyers.