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Category Archives: Legislation

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British MP Julian Smith visits NWC

Posted in Images, International, Legislation
British Member of Parliament Julian Smith (left in photo) today visited Stephen Kohn (right in photo) the Executive Director of the National Whistleblowers Center. Mr. Smith asked for the meeting to discuss how the United Kingdom might benefit from improved laws for whistleblowers and from an advocacy organization like NWC. Mr. Kohn explained how the United States has benefited from … Continue Reading

“The Garcetti Virus” and an erosion of whistleblower’s rights

Posted in Corporate Whistleblowers, Government Whistleblowers, Legislation, Whistleblower FAQ
In Nancy M. Modesitt’s recent research article “The Garcetti Virus,” she explains how a doctrine known as the job duties exclusion has come to erode protections once afforded to whistleblowers. She explains that this doctrine allows the discharge of an individual who discovers illegal activities while performing his or her job and then reports those issues to a supervisor. Although … Continue Reading

NYC Council to Vote on Whistleblower Bills

Posted in Legislation
Today, the New York City Council will vote on three whistleblower laws. I had the opportunity to testify about these three bills on April 16th this year before the Committee on Governmental Affairs. The NWC supports the NYC Council’s efforts to improve whistleblower protections. Proposed Int. No. 479-A requires city contractors and subcontractors to post a notice informing employees about … Continue Reading

Chicago Ethics Task Force calls for protecting whistleblowers

Posted in Government Whistleblowers, Legislation
The City of Chicago Ethics Task Force released a report today that recommends that the City strengthen protections for whistleblowers.  Mayor Rahm Emanuel appointed the Task Force to improve the City’s notorious record on ethics. Cindy Canary of the Illinois Campaign for Political Reform chairs the Task Force. On page 29, Recommendation 16 notes that the City’s Ethics Ordinance does … Continue Reading

Missouri House passes “Whistleblower’s Protection Act” that would actually lessen whistleblower protections

Posted in Legislation
Yesterday, the Missouri House of Representatives passed a bill called the "Whistleblower’s Protection Act," H.B. 2099. This bill is actually an attempt to weaken the protections Missouri courts already afford to whistleblowers.  Like courts in most states, Missouri courts recognize a common law tort claim for employees discharged in violation of a clear public policy. See Entwistle v. Missouri Youth … Continue Reading

NWC to Testify on New York City False Claims Act

Posted in Legislation
This Monday, April 16, 2012, NWC Director of Advocacy & Development Lindsey Williams will testify before the New York City Council in support of strengthening whistleblower protections included in proposed legislation, including the local False Claims Act. The hearing will commence at 10:00am in the 16th Floor Committee Room, 250 Broadway, New York, NY. The City Council will broadcast a … Continue Reading

California Assemblyman sacrifices his own rights for those of employees

Posted in Government Whistleblowers, Legislation
California Assemblyman Anthony Portantino (pictured; D-La Cañada Flintridge) has won committee approval for his bill to give employees in the Legislature the same protections afforded to other state workers when they report waste, fraud and abuse. Assembly Bill 1378 will give legislators and their employees protection from retaliation for reporting "improper governmental activity." The bill provides criminal and civil liability … Continue Reading

NWC comments on DOL Dodd-Frank regulations

Posted in Corporate Whistleblowers, Department of Labor, International, Legislation, Whistleblower FAQ
Just before last night’s deadline, I submitted comments on modifications to the Department of Labor’s regulations for corporate fraud whistleblowers. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) originally issued regulations at 29 CFR Part 1980 to govern its whistleblower program under the 2002 Sarbanes-Oxley Act (SOX). The modifications OSHA published on November 3, 2011, reflect changes made by the Dodd-Frank … Continue Reading

House Subcommittee wants SEC to give companies whistleblowers disclosures

Posted in Corporate Whistleblowers, Legislation
Last week, a House Subcommittee "marked-up" a bill that would seriously undercut the strength of the whistleblower protections in the Dodd-Frank Act.  This Subcommittee is the Capital Markets and Government Sponsored Enterprises Subcommittee of the House Financial Services Committee. Their mark-up of H.R. 2483 sends it to the full Committee for consideration. Take action to stop the bill. H.R. 2483 … Continue Reading

Civil Rights Tax Relief Act introduced in House and Senate

Posted in Legislation, Tax Justice for Whistleblowers
Representatives John Lewis (D-GA) and James Sensenbrenner (R-WI) introduced the Civil Rights Tax Relief Act in 2009. This bill would provide that compensatory damages awarded in whistleblower and other cases would be excluded from the definition of “income” for income tax purposes, just as other personal injuries are excluded. The Civil Rights Tax Relief Act will also permit whistleblowers and … Continue Reading

House Flip Flops on Jury Trials in Whistleblower Protection Act

Posted in Legislation
On Thursday the House Oversight Committee marked up the Whistleblower Protection Enhancement Act. Similar bills have been passed during the past few sessions of Congress but never signed into law. Each new session of Congress brings a new start to the process. Important language from past versions of the bill has been removed during this session, undoing significant progress for … Continue Reading

Julia Davis blasts House version of WPEA

Posted in Government Whistleblowers, Legislation, National Security
TAKE ACTION! Julia Davis, the Homeland Security writer for the Los Angeles Examiner, released an article yesterday calling for action today to "protect whistleblowers, so that they may continue protecting our nation." The article is called, "The House cooks up another turkey of a bill, guts whistleblower protections." Davis laments that, "Instead of improving an already deeply flawed Senate bill … Continue Reading

House Leadership Guts Whistleblower Bill

Posted in Government Whistleblowers, Legislation, National Security
TAKE ACTION! Today, leaders in the House of Representatives introduced a bill (H.R. 3289) to amend the Whistleblower Protection Act. Their new bill would strip federal employee whistleblowers of court access. The House version of the bill further erodes federal employee whistleblower protections from an already weakened Senate bill that was introduced earlier this year. The amendments would: Cut out … Continue Reading

Arbitration Fairness Act (AFA), H.R. 1873 and S. 987

Posted in Legislation
Forced arbitration is when employees faced with an issue at work are forced to have an arbitration instead of being able to go to court with a fair judge and jury. Often times, as a condition of employment, employers will not hire a worker, or could possibly fire a worker, unless they “consent” to an arbitration clause. Other times it … Continue Reading

Senate Committee marks up and approves a weak WPEA

Posted in Government Whistleblowers, Legislation, National Security
This morning, the Senate Homeland Security and Government Affairs Committee (HSGAC) marked up and approved S. 743, the Whistleblower Protection Enhancement Act (WPEA). The WPEA has been pending for years. Its expressed purpose is to strengthen protections for  whistleblowers. As sponsor Sen. Daniel Akaka (D-HI) explained, if whistleblowers are not protected, many would not take the risk to protect public … Continue Reading

NWC seminar on Dodd-Frank a huge success

Posted in Corporate Whistleblowers, Events, False Claims / Qui Tam, Legislation, Tax Whistleblowers
David Colapinto, Stephen Kohn, Sean McKessy and Michael Kohn. Photo by Lindsey Williams. Yesterday, the National Whistleblowers Center (NWC) road trip of seminars came to Washington, DC, to spread the word about new opportunities for whistleblowers under the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act. "This was the best continuing legal education I’ve had in 17 years," attorney Don … Continue Reading

Environmental whistleblowers’ options while waiting for the gold standard

Posted in Environmental Whistleblowers, Legislation
My colleague, Lindsey Williams, is today’s guest blogger on Bridge the Gulf.  Bridge the Gulf is a citizen journalism project dedicated to saving communities on the Gulf Coast. Today, Lindsey is marking the one-year anniversary of the day the Deepwater Horizon oil well was finally capped.  Yet, the rights of environmental whistleblowers have not budged an inch toward encouraging employees … Continue Reading

Sylvester wins at ARB in a victory for all whistleblowers

Posted in Corporate Whistleblowers, Department of Labor, Healthcare, Legislation, Pharmaceuticals
On May 25, 2011, the Department of Labor’s Administrative Review Board (ARB) issued a major decision in favor of whistleblowers. In Sylvester v. Parexel International, ARB Case No. 07-123 (ARB May 25, 2011), the ARB held that a whistleblower only needs a "reasonable belief" of a violation to engage in protected activity under the 2002 Sarbanes-Oxley Act (SOX). The ARB … Continue Reading

SEC’s Dodd-Frank rules are a major victory for whistleblowers

Posted in Corporate Whistleblowers, False Claims / Qui Tam, Legislation
Today the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) issued its final rules under the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act. By a vote of 3-2, the SEC approved these final rules this morning. The SEC has released a fact sheet summarizing the new rules. The outcome is a major victory for whistleblowers.  The SEC rejected proposals put forward … Continue Reading

Ninth Circuit denies protection for going to the media

Posted in Corporate Whistleblowers, Legislation, News
In a major setback for whistleblowers, a panel of the Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals has decided that going to the media can never be protected activity under the Sarbanes-Oxley Act (SOX). The decision, issued in the case of Tides v. Boeing Corporation, upheld the firing of two Boeing employees, Nicholas P. Tides (a compliance specialist) and Matthew C. … Continue Reading

Citizen activism does the impossible: One WPEA loophole closed

Posted in Legislation, National Security
Yesterday, Senator Daniel Akaka (D-Hawaii) introduced the Whistleblower Protection Enhancement Act of 2011 (WPEA), S. 743. Stephen M. Kohn, Executive Director of the National Whistleblowers Center (NWC) issued the following statement on this bill: In December of 2010, the National Whistleblowers Center (NWC), the Federal Ethics Center, the National Security Whistleblowers Coalition and the No FEAR Coalition, together with nationally … Continue Reading