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What is a ‘public body’ for whistleblowing purposes?

Pennsylvania employees are protected from retaliation for whistleblowing involving a “public body” under the Pennsylvania Whistleblower Law. But what about private employers that receive state or federal funding?

Lawsuit alert: Beware disciplining for infractions of seldom-enforced rules

Sometimes, supervisors get frustrated with workers they consider trouble makers because they complain all the time. Those bosses need to think twice before they retaliate by strictly enforcing work rules—especially if they have often ignored those rules in the past.

Workers’ comp: What happens in Texas stays in Texas

Employees claiming retaliation for making a workers’ compensation claim in Texas can’t make a federal case out of it. Such claims must be heard in state courts.

Calif. State Senate pays ex-staffer $350,000 after sexual assault

A former California State Senate staffer who alleged she was sexually assaulted by another Senate employee after a night out in Sacramento has accepted $350,000 to settle charges she was fired in retaliation for reporting the incident.

Run-of-the-mill gripes don’t justify lawsuits

Courts require employees to have fairly thick skins. Ordinary annoyances aren’t reason enough to quit.

Welcome aboard! Never mind! Document why you rescinded job offer

Employers that tell an applicant she’s hired and then yank the offer should be prepared to give a legitimate, business-related reason. Carefully document the reason in case the applicant later sues.

Remind staff: Contractors aren’t employees

The more control you exert, the more likely your organization will be on the hook as the employer in any lawsuit.

Track requests to show: It was his idea!

When an employee asks for a transfer or some other change to his working conditions, be sure you track the request. That way, if he later alleges coercion, discrimination or retaliation, you can show it was all his idea in the first place.

RICO doesn’t cover employment law violations

An employer has won a case that could have greatly complicated employment law litigation. A federal court has refused to allow a Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act claim against an employer for using phones and the internet to discuss terminating an employee.

Prepare to show you would have disciplined even if employee wasn’t a whistleblower

Sometimes, an employee may decide to take revenge if she perceives she has been unfairly disciplined. If she does so by becoming a whistleblower, she may believe that protects her from eventual termination. That’s not true if the employer can persuade a court it would have disciplined or fired her whether she reported alleged wrongdoing or not.