Category Archives: State-Specific Whistleblower Claims

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N.J. High Court Rules “Watchdog” Employees Protected Under State Whistleblower Law

On July 15, 2015, the Supreme Court of New Jersey ruled that an employee who monitors corporate compliance—a so-called “watchdog” employee—can engage in protected activity by blowing the whistle under the New Jersey Conscientious Employee Protection Act (“CEPA”) in the course of performing the tasks and functions of the job for which he or she … 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

No “Pleasure” for Florida Whistleblower

Despite 14 pages of vigorous dissent, a majority of a three-judge panel of the Eleventh Circuit has done the right thing and joined the Fourth, Sixth and Ninth Circuits in holding that the National Bank Act (“NBA”) preempts state wrongful discharge claims.  In its May 5, 2015, decision, the majority concluded that the NBA’s language empowering banks to “dismiss … Continue Reading

Washington Jury Awards “Perceived” Whistleblower $1 Million

In a jury verdict issued on March 26, 2015, a supervisor for the nation’s largest ferry system was awarded $1 million because the jury concluded that his employer demoted him as an act of retaliation in violation of the Washington State Employee Whistleblower Protection Act because he was believed—albeit inaccurately—to be a whistleblower.  Chaussee v. … Continue Reading

NY Whistleblower Bounty Program On The Horizon?

NY Attorney General Eric Schneiderman recently announced his plans to propose legislation that would create a whistleblower incentive program at the state level.  The proposal, titled the Financial Frauds Whistleblower Act, would provide monetary awards to eligible individuals who report original information about illegal activity in the banking, insurance, and financial services industries.  The Financial … Continue Reading

Cal. App. Court Finds in Favor of “Whistleblower” Who Never Blew the Whistle

In Diego v. Pilgrim United Church of Christ, — Cal.Rptr.3d —-, 2014 WL 6602601 (Cal. App. 4 Dist.) (available here), the California Court of Appeal determined that Cecilia Diego (Plaintiff) could pursue a common law public policy retaliation claim against her former employer, Pilgrim United Church of Christ (the Church), based on her allegations that … Continue Reading

Further Expanding An Already Expansive NJ Whistleblowing Law

Often touted as the most expansive state whistleblowing law in the U.S., New Jersey’s seemingly boundless Conscientious Employee Protection Act (“CEPA”) may get even broader.   On October 9, 2014, New Jersey’s Senate Labor Committee approved bill S768, which would expand CEPA to prohibit workplace retaliation against public employees who disclose or object to “a substantial … Continue Reading

Court Affirms $3M Jury Award In Illinois Whistleblower Action

On August 28, 2014, Judge James McCarthy issued a decision in Crawley v. Chicago State University, Case No. 10 L 12657 (Cook County, Ill., Law Div.), affirming payment of over $3 million to Plaintiff James Crowley (“Plaintiff”), a former Chicago State University (“University”) Senior Legal Counsel, following a jury trial on his whistleblower retaliation claim … Continue Reading

New York Court of Appeals Expands Potential For State Whistleblower Claims

The New York Court of Appeals recently ruled that a whistleblower need not plead the specific “law, rule or regulation” that the employer purportedly violated to state a cause of action under the New York whistleblower statute.  Webb-Weber v. Cmty. Action for Human Servs., 2014 N.Y. Slip. Op. 03428 (May 13, 2014).  The New York … Continue Reading

Illinois Whistleblower Awarded $3 Million Following Jury Trial

In what appears to be an alarming trend for employers, the Chicago Tribune recently reported that a former Chicago State University employee was awarded $3 million after a Cook County, Illinois jury found that the University retaliated against him for reporting alleged misconduct by top university officials in violation of the Illinois State Official and … Continue Reading

Cal. Appellate Court: Cal. State Courts Have Concurrent Jurisdiction Over FCA Retaliation Claims

On January 30, 2014, the California Court of Appeal for the Fifth Appellate District ruled that California State courts have concurrent jurisdiction over retaliation claims under the federal False Claims Act (FCA) in Driscoll v. Superior Court (Spencer).  The following addresses the basis for that ruling and its implications.… Continue Reading

New California Law Expands Protections for Whistleblowers

On October 12, 2013, California Governor Jerry Brown signed into law SB 496, which, along with two other new laws (SB 666 and AB 263), expands protections for whistleblowers in California by significantly altering California Labor Code Section 1102.5, California’s general whistleblower statute. The amendments are effective January 1, 2014.… Continue Reading

Watch Out for “Watchdogs”: The N.J. Appellate Division Expressly Expands CEPA Protection To a New Class of Employees

On September 4, 2013, the New Jersey Appellate Division in Lippman v. Ethicon, Inc., Docket No. L–9025–06, 2013 WL 4726834 (App. Div. September 04, 2013), reversed a ruling by the Superior Court, Law Division granting summary judgment to the defendant employers and dismissing plaintiff’s claim under New Jersey’s Conscientious Employee Protection Act (CEPA) on the … Continue Reading

NJ Jury Renders $2.1 Million Punitive Damage Award in Whistleblower Case

In a recent lawsuit before the Superior Court of New Jersey in Hudson County, a jury unanimously awarded $2.1 million in punitive damages to a hospital lab technician after finding his employer retaliated against him for having reported “improper blood bank staffing and management procedures” in violation of New Jersey’s Conscientious Employee Protection Act (CEPA), … 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

Retaliatory Discharge Under Illinois Law: “Public Policy” Strictly Interpreted Once Again

An Illinois state court of appeals recently held that the Cook County Department of Public Health (“Cook County”) was not liable for common law retaliatory discharge because plaintiff/appellant failed to identify a cognizable “public policy.”  Lucas v. County of Cook, Case No. 09 L 11982 (1st Dist. March 5, 2013). This decision underscores the height … Continue Reading

Illinois Whistleblower Act: Employee Need Not Be Original Source To Have An Actionable “Disclosure”

An  Illinois Appellate Court recently found that the Illinois Whistleblower Protection Act (740 ILCS § 174/1, et seq.) (IWA) does not require that the employee’s disclosure is the first, or only, disclosure of a violation of a state or federal law, rule or regulation for that disclosure to form the basis of a cause of action.  Willms v. … Continue Reading
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