There is no shortage of heroes in California during the COVID-19 pandemic, especially among the doctors, nurses, and other healthcare professionals. They put themselves in harm's way every day to help others. Not only do healthcare workers put their own health at risk by doing their jobs, but they also increase the chances that they may expose their families and loved ones to the virus. Given these sacrifices, it isn't unreasonable for such workers to expect the safest possible environment for doing their critical work. In fact, California law demands it.
When disasters strike - including the current coronavirus outbreak - price gouging, scams, and other fraud unfortunately follow. If the government is the entity being defrauded, however, whistleblowers have the power to expose the wrongdoing and protect the public, but they, too, need protection from unlawful retaliation.
In July 2019, the Taxpayer First Act ("TFA") was signed into law. It is intended to redesign the Internal Revenue Service to promote consistent application of federal tax laws and enhance the public's confidence in the IRS. Modeled after the whistleblower protection provisions of the False Claims Act and Sarbanes-Oxley Act, the TFA extends anti-retaliation protections to insiders who report employers' suspected tax fraud and non-compliance.
Here's another case of a judge not thinking like a juror: most fair-minded people would consider it evidence of pregnancy discrimination that a manager launched an audit and started putting negative reports in an employee's file literally days after she announced her pregnancy. The district court judge did not get this, but the Second Circuit reverses and sends the case back for trial. The panel also addresses the standard for proving sex discrimination in pay under Title VII, outside of the "equal work" framework.
As part of Outten & Golden's collaboration with Labaton Sucharow on the Corporate Whistleblower Watch newsletter, Sage Counsel is an occasional feature addressing common issues at play in a wide range of whistleblower issues
Erhart v. Botfl Holding, Inc, No. 15 Civ. 02287, 2017 WL. 588390 (SD. Cal. Feb. 14, 2017)
Wells Fargo. Bio-Rad. Volkswagen. Just three examples of corporations that, to their peril, either ignored or actively suppressed employee whistleblowers. They join countless other companies, large and small, that found out the hard way that a head-in-the-sand approach toward whistleblowers is not just unethical, but also poses grave threats to their bottom lines and public reputations.