Connie Bertram

Connie Bertram

Partner

Connie N. Bertram is a partner in the Labor & Employment Law Department. Connie is the head of the DC Labor & Employment practice, and co-head of the Whistleblowing & Retaliation, and Government Contractor Compliance & Relations Groups.

Connie concentrates her practice on labor and employment, executive, whistleblower, government contractor and employee mobility counseling and litigation. She is frequently tapped to conduct confidential internal investigations involving executive-level employees, including claims of discrimination, harassment and code of conduct violations. She counsels on, investigates and litigates restrictive covenant and trade secret disputes between employers and former employees. Connie has defended complex employment, whistleblower and restrictive covenant litigation across the United States, including numerous disputes, discrimination and harassment claims involving executive-level employees, as well as claims brought under Title VII, the Age Discrimination in Employment Act, Americans with Disabilities Act, Fair Housing Act, Family Medical Leave Act, Sarbanes-Oxley, the False Claims Act and other federal and state employment and whistleblower provisions.

Subscribe to all posts by Connie Bertram

Sanctions Award Strengthens Fight to Protect Confidential Company Records

On October 18, 2017, a federal district judge in Alaska ordered a former employee to pay nearly $170,000 of his ex-employer’s legal fees as sanction for removing nine attorney-client privileged documents prior to his termination. The ruling was based on a decision this summer that the former employee willfully and deliberately disobeyed established norms of … Continue Reading

Proskauer To Present On Whistleblower Developments At ABA Midwinter Meeting

On February 24, 2017 at 10:30 am, Proskauer Partner Connie Bertram will speak on “Whistleblower Provisions of Sarbanes Oxley” at the American Bar Association Section of Labor and Employment Law’s Federal Labor Standards Legislation Committee Midwinter Meeting in Playa Del Carmen, Mexico.  Bertram is the head of Proskauer’s DC Labor & Employment practice, and co-head … Continue Reading

Seventh Circuit Issues Ruling Interpreting False Claim Act Whistleblower Amendments

The Seventh Circuit recently issued a decision interpreting the anti-retaliation provisions of the False Claims Act (FCA).  The decision provides important clarifications about how courts may interpret recent amendments to this provision.  Like a recent decision by the Fourth Circuit, the Seventh Circuit finds that courts may inquire whether the employee’s underlying complaint of FCA … Continue Reading

Fourth Circuit Issues Ruling Interpreting False Claim Act Whistleblower Amendments

The Fourth Circuit recently issued a decision interpreting the anti-retaliation provision of the False Claims Act (FCA).  The decision provides important clarification about how courts may interpret 2009 and 2010 amendments to the anti-retaliation provision.  Specifically, it finds that courts may inquire whether the employee’s underlying complaint of FCA fraud is objectively and subjectively reasonable.… Continue Reading

DC Circuit: Internal Investigation Documents Are Protected from Disclosure in FCA Case

Reversing a lower court decision, the D.C. Circuit recently concluded – for a second time – that certain internal audit documents are protected from disclosure by the attorney-client communication and work production privileges. On August 11, 2015, the D.C. Circuit issued a second writ of mandamus regarding the same group of documents, internal reports which the … Continue Reading

Self-Help Discovery Does Not Immunize Employee from Prosecution, Says NJ Supreme Court

On June 23, 2015, the New Jersey Supreme Court ruled that Quinlan v. Curtiss-Wright Corporation, 204 N.J. 239 (2010), does not bar criminal prosecutions arising from an employee’s removal of confidential company documents to support a discrimination claim.  State v. Saavedra, No. A-68-13.… Continue Reading

Proskauer Participates With Head of SEC Whistleblower Program in 4/22/15 Webinar

Proskauer Partner Connie N. Bertram, co-head of the Whistleblowing & Retaliation Practice, participated in a webinar last week with Sean McKessy, Chief of the SEC’s Office of the Whistleblower. The webinar, sponsored by the American Bar Association, was entitled “New Developments in Whistleblower Claims and the SEC.” The participants discussed the Supreme Court’s recent decision … Continue Reading

SEC Announces Enforcement Action Regarding Employee Confidentiality Agreement

On April 1, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) announced its first settlement of an enforcement action under the SEC’s Rule 21F-17, which prohibits any person from taking “any action to impede an individual from communicating directly with the Commission staff about a possible securities law violation, including enforcing, or threatening to enforce, a confidentiality … Continue Reading

Department of State Inspector General Issues Report on Contractor Confidentiality Provisions with Employees

Yesterday, the Office of the Inspector General for the U.S. Department of State (OIG) issued a report on its review of the use of confidentiality agreements and policies by Department of State contractors. In preparing the report, OIG sent a five-question survey to the 30 contractors with the largest Department of State contracts in 2012. … Continue Reading

Eleventh Circuit Limits Scope of FCA Whistleblower Suit

Late last month, a three-judge panel of the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals reinstated portions of a former executive’s False Claims Act (“FCA”) whistleblower action against Health Management Associates Inc. (“HMA”), alleging that the company engaged in an illegal to generate referrals of Medicare and Medicaid patients to its facilitates. In its ruling, the Eleventh … Continue Reading

Sixth Circuit Dismisses Whistleblower’s Claims Made By Job Applicant

This week, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit ruled that a job applicant lacks standing to bring whistle-blower claims under the Energy Reorganization Act and the False Claims Act (“FCA”) because those laws’ retaliation provisions apply only to employees.  The Sixth Circuit is the first Court of Appeals to address this issue.… 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

False Claims Act Does Not Protect An Employee Disclosing His Whistleblower History

On October 20, the United States District Court for the Southern District of Ohio found that the False Claims Act (“FCA”) did not protect an employee who was fired after revealing his history as a whistleblower and offering to help his new employer prevent overcharges on a government contract.  The court held that the employee … 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

DC Circuit Rejects Narrow View Of Attorney-Client Privilege In Internal Company Investigations

On June 27, 2014, the D.C. Circuit granted Kellogg Brown & Root’s (“KBR’s”) petition for a writ of mandamus and vacated a federal district court order requiring KBR to produce 89 documents related to an internal investigation.  Relying on Upjohn Co. v. United States, 449 U.S. 383 (1981), the D.C. Circuit ruled that the documents … Continue Reading

Third Circuit Adopts Less Demanding FCA Pleading Standard

Last week, the Third Circuit reversed a New Jersey district court’s decision to dismiss a False Claims Act (FCA) qui tam law suit, holding that the court applied an overly demanding pleading standard to relator Thomas Foglia’s complaint.  The Third Circuit’s decision joins the growing debate that has split the circuits as to whether whistleblowers … Continue Reading

Court Recognizes Limitations on Relator’s Ability to Bring Multiple Suits in U.S. v. Cellco

A federal circuit court decision issued last week recognizes important limitations on a relator’s ability to bring multiple lawsuits against the same contractor or alleging related fraud.  The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit held that allowing multiple suits by the same relator would violate the intent behind the “first-to-file” rule: … Continue Reading

Federal Court Ruling Raises Questions About Privileged Nature Of Certain Internal Investigations

On March 6, 2014, the United States District Court for the District of Columbia ruled that Kellogg Brown & Root Services, Inc. (“KBR”) must produce to a qui tam relator 89 documents relating to internal investigations conducted by the Company.  The court held that neither the attorney-client privilege nor the attorney work-product doctrine barred production or … Continue Reading

Government Recommends Supreme Court NOT Hear Takeda Case

The U.S. Solicitor General has asked the Supreme Court not to hear an appeal in a False Claims Act (“FCA”) case against Takeda North America Pharmaceuticals, Inc.  The Fourth Circuit had dismissed the case because the plaintiff failed to plead the allegations of fraud with particularity.  Specifically, the government stated that the case is not … Continue Reading

U.S. Supreme Court Extends SOX’s Whistleblower Protection To Employees of Publicly Traded Company’s Contractors

On March 4, 2014, the United States Supreme Court in Lawson v. FMR LLC held that SOX’s whistleblower protection extends to employees of a publicly traded company’s contractors and subcontractors.  Lawson v. FMR LLC, 572 U.S. __ (2014).    Notably, this is the first time the Supreme Court has decided a case under SOX’s whistleblower-protection provision (Section … Continue Reading
LexBlog