Whistleblower and Retaliation Counseling and Litigation

When an employee blows the whistle, clients are confronted with a conundrum: how can they investigate properly the allegations of misconduct, while maintaining the confidentiality and protecting the whistleblower from retaliation? Particularly when allegations of illegal conduct are involved or the employer is a regulated entity, clients must turn to outside counsel to conduct an effective investigation and/or provide advice concerning the handling of the claims of the whistleblower and what may be pre-existing performance problems. These challenging and delicate matters require outside counsel who has experience with federal and state whistleblower laws and deep litigation expertise. We are the authors of the first and only published law review article concerning whistleblower law: Sarbanes-Oxley: The Next Whistle Stop for Whistleblowers, which has been cited by federal courts and used in law school courses. We are recognized as “thought leaders” on whistleblower defense, handling some of the most complex whistleblower litigation cases, speaking to national audiences about whistleblower developments, and being quoted in publications such as The Wall Street Journal and The Washington Post.  

We handle whistleblower issues soup-to-nuts, including:

  • Drafting compliant and effective whistleblower and business ethics policies and associated hot-line and investigation policies and procedures.
  • Providing training to boards, executives, and employees concerning business ethics and whistleblower policies.
  • Conducting whistleblower investigations as independent counsel or defense counsel.
  • Advising executives and owners about their rights under federal and state whistleblower laws.
  • Representing employers and executives in whistleblower litigation before OSHA and other agencies and in federal and state court across the country

REPRESENTATIVE MATTERS

  • Defending manufacturer based in Massachusetts in Sarbanes-Oxley whistleblower action in proceedings before OSHA and district court and on appeal before the United States Court of Appeals for the First Circuit.
  • Investigated and resolved sexual harassment allegations of a female Senior Vice President of a major non-profit in Florida who threatened to report false allegations to the media and Congress. Her claims were successfully resolved after the investigation revealed that the SVP had colluded with another executive to concoct and assert false claims to extort from the organization.
  • Successfully represented a Chicago-based Fortune 50 food distributor in multi-jurisdiction litigation prosecuting claims for trade secret theft, breach of contract and breach of the duty of loyalty and defending numerous claims, including claims under Sarbanes-Oxley and the False Claims Act, involving executives’ efforts to set up the CEO for termination.
  • Obtained dismissal of whistleblower claims of an employee of a major government contractor by asserting defenses and claims (resulting in monetary sanctions) based on the former employee’s misconduct in Afghanistan, including the theft of trade secrets, spoliation of evidence and conversion of property.
  • Successfully defended a DC-based international investment fund against claims by a CEO in the UAE alleging wrongful discharge and contract claims and successfully asserting counterclaims for theft and trade secrets.
  • Represented a Virginia-based government contractor in False Claims Act whistleblower action pending in federal court, resulting in dismissal and monetary sanctions against the plaintiff based on his spoliation of evidence in discovery.
  • Represented a major DC-based employer in an action by in-house counsel alleging gender discrimination and retaliation, prevailing on summary judgment and obtaining an award of sanctions.
  • Represented a major New Hampshire-based government contractor in False Claims Act and trade secret litigation in federal court, obtaining summary judgment, a significant damages award and an award of sanctions.