Rachel Fischer

Rachel Fischer

Associate

Rachel Fischer is an associate in the Labor & Employment Law Department. She handles a wide range of employment litigation matters, including wage-and-hour issues, reductions in force and unlawful discrimination.

Rachel graduated from Columbia Law School in 2011, where she was a staff member on the Columbia Journal of Transnational Law. While in law school, Rachel interned for U.S. Magistrate Judge Esther Salas in the District of New Jersey. Prior to that she was a paralegal at the UJA-Federation of New York.

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CFTC Issues Second Whistleblower Award To The Tune Of $290,000

On September 29, 2015, the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) announced that it will make its second award as part of its whistleblower program, which was created by Dodd-Frank.  The tipster will receive a bounty of approximately $290,000.  Notably absent from  the CFTC’s press release regarding the award were any details about the whistleblower … Continue Reading

Fifth Circuit Revives SOX Whistleblower Claim But Rejects Allegations Not Exhausted Before OSHA

In Wallace v. Tesoro Corp., the Fifth Circuit revived a SOX whistleblower complaint that was dismissed by the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Texas, finding that the plaintiff’s alleged belief that the company violated SEC rules was not objectively unreasonable (as plead in the complaint).  (Case No. 13-cv-51010, July 31, 2015).  The … Continue Reading

ARB Issues Impactful Decision On Whistleblower Retaliation Causation Standard

The ARB recently addressed the standard for proving that protected activity was a “contributing factor” in adverse employment actions.  It concluded that evidence showing that an employer would have made the same adverse action decision in the absence of protected activity does not bear on whether the protected activity “contributed” to the adverse action.  Powers … Continue Reading

New York Times: Bounty Programs Incentivize Wrongdoers to Collect

We have seen a number of substantial whistleblower awards make headlines this year, but a recent article on nytimes.com discusses the potential downsides of government-sponsored bounty programs: rewarding whistleblowers by paying them millions of dollars for information may lead to perverse incentives by allowing wrongdoers to win significant sums of money with little government accountability … Continue Reading

5th Circuit: Outing Whistleblower Equals Adverse Action

On November 12, 2014, in Halliburton, Inc. v. Admin. Review Bd., 5th Cir. No. 13-cv-60323, the Fifth Circuit affirmed an ARB’s decision that disclosing the identity of a whistleblower may constitute an “adverse action” under Section 806 of SOX.  This decision presents a number of risks for employers—even when they are acting conscientiously and in good … Continue Reading

Study: Does The Existence Of Whistleblowers In Enforcement Actions Mean Greater Penalties?

According to an academic study published on October 6, 2014 by Andrew C. Hall, Gerald S. Martin, Nathan Y. Sharp, and Jaron H. Wilde, the presence of whistleblowers may have a meaningful impact on the outcomes of enforcement actions brought by the SEC and DOJ.  The study involved an analysis of the effect of whistleblowers … Continue Reading

Administrative Review Board Clarifies Causation Burdens in SOX Whistleblower Cases

The ARB recently clarified the competing burdens of proof on issues of causation for whistleblower retaliation cases arising under SOX Section 806 and other whistleblower protection statutes.  In particular, in Fordham v. Fannie Mae, ARB No. 12-061 (Oct. 9, 2014), a 2-1 decision, the ARB reversed an ALJ’s decision that had considered the Respondent’s affirmative … Continue Reading

SDNY Dismisses Extraterritorial SOX and Dodd Frank Whistleblower Claims

Overseas plaintiffs are continuing to seek to pursue  SOX and Dodd-Frank whistleblower claims.  On September 30, 2014, the Southern District of New York in Ulrich v. Moody’s Corp., 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 138082 (S.D.N.Y. Sept. 30, 2014), dismissed SOX and Dodd-Frank whistleblower claims on the grounds that the statutes’ respective anti-retaliation provisions do not apply … Continue Reading

Watchdogs Petition SEC to Strengthen Prohibitions Against Impeding Complaints to SEC

On July 18, 2014, a coalition of plaintiff-side lawyers and government watchdog groups proposed ways to strengthen the SEC whistleblower program in two petitions filed with the SEC.  The groups urged the SEC to update Rule 21F-17, which prohibits any action that would “impede” an individual from communicating with the SEC about securities law violations, … Continue Reading

Fifth Circuit: FCA Inapplicable to Claims Involving Private Funds Administered by Government-Created Programs

In United States of America ex rel Rene Shupe v. Cisco Systems, Inc. and Avnet, Inc., No. 13-40807 (5th Cir. July 7, 2014), the Fifth Circuit reversed a district court’s order denying a motion to dismiss a qui tam whistleblower suit, holding that the False Claims Act does not apply to submissions by telecommunications companies … Continue Reading

$6 Million SOX Whistleblower Verdict In California

On March 5, 2014, a California jury awarded $6 million to a former accounting executive at Playboy Enterprises Inc. (the “Company”), finding that the Company discharged the former employee in violation of Section 806 of SOX.  The case is Zulfer v. Playboy Enterprises Inc. et al., No. 2:12-cv-08263 (C.D. Cal.).  The award is reported to … Continue Reading

District Court Denies Summary Judgment On Internal Audit/SOX Administrator’s Whistleblower Claim

In denying a bank’s bid for summary judgment on an Internal Audit and SOX Administrator’s SOX whistleblower claim, the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington highlighted the present conflict on the standard governing protected activity under Section 806 of SOX—i.e., the “definitively and specifically” standard or the more liberal “reasonable belief” standard.  … Continue Reading

New York Lawyers Generally Cannot Seek Bounties Under Dodd-Frank, Says New York Ethics Committee

The New York County Lawyers Association Committee on Professional Ethics released Formal Opinion 746 on October 7, in which the Committee considered whether New York lawyers can ethically collect bounties for submitting confidential information about their clients under the whistleblower provisions of the Dodd-Frank Act.  According to the Formal Opinion, New York lawyers may not … Continue Reading

Recent Multi-Million Dollar Whistleblower Jury Awards — A Wake-Up Call For Employers

In what might be an unsettling trend for employers, juries in Philadelphia and Anchorage have recently issued multi-million dollar jury awards in favor of whistleblowers. Specifically, on March 22, 2013, a Philadelphia Common Pleas Court jury awarded Plaintiff-whistleblower Marla Pietrowski $1.7 million for her claims under the New Jersey Conscientious Employee Protection Act, and Ms. … Continue Reading

Amendment to NYC Human Rights Law Provides New Whistleblower Protections

On March 13, 2013, the New York City Council overrode Mayor Bloomberg’s veto of a new Local Law that amends the New York City Human Rights Law (“NYCHRL”) to prohibit discrimination against job applicants based on their unemployment status.  The new Local Law provides expansive whistleblower/retaliation protections to employees and is set to take effect … Continue Reading

OSHA Issues Stiff Penalties To Railroad Company In FRSA Whistleblower Matters

OSHA recently announced that it ordered Norfolk Southern Railway (Company) to pay three former workers a combined $1,121,099 for violating the whistleblower provisions of the Federal Railroad Safety Act (FRSA), which protects employees who report violations of any federal law, rule or regulation relating to railroad safety or security.… Continue Reading

Employers Taking Stand Against Allegedly Frivolous Whistleblower Claims

Employers who believe they have been subjected to frivolous whistleblower suits are starting to say “enough is enough,” and searching for ways to vindicate their rights and send a strong message. This case is illustrative and caught our eye. Kentucky employer Armstrong Coal (the Company) recently filed suit in Kentucky state court against former employee … Continue Reading

2012 EEOC Year in Review – Retaliation Charges Continue to Rise

According to a recently released report, the EEOC received more retaliation charges in 2012 than in any prior year.  And, in 2012, it received more retaliation charges than in any other individual category.  The number of retaliation charges lodged with the EEOC has grown dramatically in the last 15 years.  In 1997, 18,198 retaliation claims … Continue Reading
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