Articles Posted in Whistleblower and Retaliation

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Resignation.Dollar.Photo.Club.2.15.16.jpgOur Award-Winning New York Employment Lawyer has been asked to discuss the following question — what is the standard for constructive discharge under the city law. Constructive discharge claims can be difficult to prove. In general, a constructive discharge claim requires two separate events (i) employer engages in prohibited conduct; and (ii) and the employee resigns from his or her job. Under this theory, an employer cannot simply evade liability of the underlying discriminatory or harassing conduct simply because the employee resigned. This blog post discusses the standard under NYC Human Rights Law, which carries a lower burden for employees than federal law.
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Retaliation.Dollar.Photo.Club.2.4.16.jpgHandling an employee’s complaint, such as a claim of discrimination, FMLA violation, OSHA claim, or other employment-related issue, can be tricky enough. But the problem can rapidly go from manageable to bad (or bad to much worse) if retaliation comes into play. Our Award Winning New York Employment Law Attorney has extensively advised and counseled a multitude of businesses, large and small, on preventing and handling claims of unlawful retaliation. Taking timely, necessary and proper steps, such as contacting an experienced attorney, can make all the difference in how a claim may impact your business.


Some Quick Statistics

Federal data shows that, in 2014, of the top 10 employment discrimination claims, workplace bias charges alleging retaliation topped the list with 38,000 complaints (nearly 43% of all complaints nationally filed with the EEOC that year), nearly double the number of claims from 1998. In New York, nearly 40% of all complaints filed with the EEOC in 2014 included an allegation of retaliation. Unfortunately, retaliation is a widespread problem in our workplaces.
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Sexual.Harassment.Posterboard.jpgOur Award Winning New York Employment Lawyer has been asked to discuss the definition of a hostile work environment. Most people associate this phrase with sexual harassment cases only but that it is not accurate. An individual may allege workplace harassment based on other protected categories including race, national origin, religion, and disability. This is a key difference between from Quid Pro Quo harassment claims, which are limited to sexual harassment matters. Quid Pro Quo harassment cases are discussed in another blog post, which can be found here. One last point of introduction – male and female employees both can bring hostile work environment claims due to conduct by the same sex or opposite sex.
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Shellshocked! Terminated Whistleblower Strikes Back at Viacom

Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Whistleblower.Red.Keyboard.Button.Dollar.Photo.Club.9.14.15.jpgA former Vice President for Viacom has brought an action against the media giant alleging that she was wrongfully terminated after blowing the whistle on an alleged unlawful tax-avoidance scheme. Our New York Whistleblower Lawyer discusses the allegations and employment implications below.

Nataki Williams v. Viacom International Media Networks Inc.

Along with a multitude of other properties, Viacom owns the international licensing rights for Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (“TMNT”). In her Complaint, Williams, a 7-year employee of Viacom and most recently its Vice President for Financial Planning and Analysis, accuses Viacom of attempting to attribute TMNT’s revenue (a 2014 motion picture release) to the Netherlands in an effort to avoid paying U.S. taxes. While the entity that owns TMNT was based in Netherlands, the Complaint states that all of the business that was conducted concerning the rights of the movie- licensing decisions, contract negotiations – all were done in New York State. The Complaint also alleges that Viacom had a similar plan for other intellectual properties, such as Dora the Explorer and SpongeBob SquarePants.

Williams alleges that other employees, including a Senior Vice President, who expressed their opposition to the tax-avoidance scheme has their employment terminated. When Williams, herself, raised her concerns about the planned activity, she alleges that she was ignored and told to not memorialize the tax avoidance plans in any emails.
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Male.Employee.Fired.Severance.Dollar.Phot.Club.12.24.15.jpgOur Award-Winning New York Severance Agreement Attorney has represented current and former employees of Morgan Stanley who were affected by layoffs, position eliminations or subject to other disciplinary action. It was reported that earlier this week, Morgan Stanley has started to lay off employees in its credit division including bond traders. Morgan Stanley is the sixth largest bank in the country based on assets and reportedly has 60,000 employees globally. Layoffs in the financial sector in general have been a function of business operations, regulations and competition. If you or someone you know was laid off or otherwise disciplined, contact our NY Severance Package Lawyer to discuss the facts and circumstances and determine options, rights and potential next steps.

Why It Is Important to Have Your Severance Agreement Reviewed By An Experienced Employment Law Attorney

It is never a good time to lose one’s job especially around the holidays and when employers may not be looking to hire. Being unemployed is difficult enough but having a non-compete agreement or another form of a restrictive covenant can impede your ability to find another job in the financial services sector. Some severance agreements can include a restrictive covenant even if you did not sign one during your employment. Critically, severance agreements typically state that employees should not sign them without consulting an attorney. There is a good reason for them to be reviewed because they are generally written for the company’s benefit, not necessarily yours. Furthermore, in addition to the inclusion of a restrictive covenant, the agreement can contain numerous post-employment obligations that can affect your job search process. Below are some reasons why it can be valuable for an attorney to review a severance agreement.

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FORMER PHARMACEUTICAL EMPLOYEE BLOWS THE WHISTLE ON “OFF LABEL USE”

Pharmacy.Drug.Pills.Off.Label.False.Claims.Dollar.Photo.Club.12.23.15.jpgAs we have discussed previously, whistleblowers play a vital role in our society; they are uniquely situated to report frauds perpetuated on the government and the tax paying public.

Our Award Winning New York Whistleblower Attorney has been asked to comment on a recent multi-million dollar settlement resolving a Medicaid fraud case that was brought under state and federal False Claims Acts. If you are aware of any situations where the government is being defrauded, contact our office for a confidential consultation. As discussed below, it is imperative that whistleblowers speak with counsel before taking any steps.

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Thumbnail image for Whistleblower.Sign.Held.Up.Dollar.Photo.Club.7.29.15.jpgGovernment fraud is wrong and must be stopped. Whistleblowers are courageous individuals who come forward and help tax payers from being ripped off. Our New York False Claims Act Lawyer has been asked to discuss a case where multiple wireless carriers are accused of overcharging the government by more then $100 million. Our attorneys have counseled clients in confidential matters regarding whistleblower actions.

In State of California et al. ex rel. OntheGo Wireless, LLC v. Cellco Partnership et al., Case No. 34-2012-00127517 (Super. Ct. Cal., Sacramento County), it is alleged that the Verizon, AT&T, Sprint and T-Mobile failed to charge the lowest rate possible to its government customers. It was alleged that the wireless carriers signed a contract with the government that required it to conduct regular rate plan optimizations to ensure that its government customers were charged the lowest possible rate. It is alleged that the wireless companies did not conduct the rate plan optimization, which is a computerized system that applies the lowest cost plan based on an analysis of a customer’s specific usage pattern.

If you are aware of a company or individual that is overcharging the government or engaging in fraudulent practices, I urge to contact our office for a confidential consultation to learn your rights and options. Not only do the whistleblowers shine a light on corruption and recover monies for taxpayers, they also are eligible for a monetary reward depending on the circumstances. Below are some frequently asked questions from our prior discussions.

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Thumbnail image for Fraud.Whistleblower.Bought.From.IStock.Photo.jpgAs we have discussed before, whistleblowers perform a critical role in our communities by helping to stem fraud and corruption. As with cases like the one below, had a whistleblower timely intervened, it could have potentially saved taxpayers millions of dollars, valuable time and resources, and a whistleblower may even have been entitled to one-third of any monies recovered by the government from the corrupt corporation or individuals.

Not every case forms the basis for a whistleblower claim under a statute or applicable law – call our New York Whistleblower Attorney to learn your options and the strength (or weakness) of your potential claims. Not every case is the same and initial missteps can be fatal to claim. Learn your rights before you take any action.

Reported HUD fraud scheme in Mount Vernon
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Medicare.Fraud.Corruption.Medical.Field.Dollar.Photo.Club.9.14.15.jpgOur New York Whistleblower Attorney has been asked to comment on a recent Medicare fraud case that was brought under the False Claims Act. It is important to stop government fraud including Medicare Fraud because it affects society as a whole. It is has been reported that Medicare Fraud is estimated to be 50 billion dollars annually. If you are aware of any situations where the government is being defrauded, contact our office for a confidential consultation. As discussed below, it is important for whistleblowers to speak with counsel before taking any steps.

Moore Case Background and General Considerations

Dr. Jean Moore, a physician, blew the whistle by filing a lawsuit under the False Claims Act against Mercy Health Springfield Communities, formerly known as St. John’s Health System Inc., which owns and operates a hospital in Springfield, Missouri, and its affiliate, Mercy Clinic Springfield Communities, formerly known as St. John’s Clinic. It was alleged that the defendants submitted false claims to the Medicare Program for services rendered and the referring physicians received improper bonuses. There are strict laws that regulate whether bonuses can be paid to referring patients for policy and health reasons. Patient care and medical treatment should be paramount. Indeed, according to press reports, U.S. Attorney Tammy Dickinson stated “[a] bonus structure that rewards physicians based on the value of their referrals is detrimental to both the quality and the cost of health care. Patients deserve assurances that they are receiving appropriate medical care, unbiased by hidden incentives. And taxpayers deserve assurances that the cost of public health care programs is not inflated by unnecessary procedures and services.”

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Sexual.Harassment.Hand.on.Shoulder.Dollar.Photo.Club.9.10.15.jpgOur Award Winning New York City Sexual Harassment Lawyer has been asked to comment on a recent settlement involving Con Edison Company of New York, Inc. The Company has agreed to pay up to $3.8 million dollars to a class of current and former female employees who alleged that they were subject to sexual harassment and/or other forms of gender discrimination. Sexual harassment is wrong and should not be tolerated in the workplace. If you have any questions or concerns about inappropriate activity in the workplace, please contact us for a confidential consultation.

The Allegations

The workers alleged that they were subject to a hostile work environment and faced widespread harassment by male co-workers. The workers claimed that they complained but no remedial action was taken by the Company. Some of the specific allegations of discriminatory treatment include: