whistleblower Archives - Parks Chesin & Walbert
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Whistleblower Protection: an Overview of Federal and State Law

What Is Whistleblowing and Why Is It Necessary?

Whistleblowing occurs when an employee reports or objects to an employer’s illegal behavior to a supervisor or an external law enforcement agency. Whistleblower protection in the workplace often falls under federal and state laws enacted to encourage employees to speak up when they witness illegal activities by their employers.

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Court of Appeals Clarifies Procedural Hurdles To Whistleblower Protection Under TPFCA

The Court of Appeals recently explored the procedural and immunity implications of the Taxpayer Protection and False Claims Act (TPFCA) with respect to state universities and their officers and employees. In Fuciarelli v. McKinney, No. A15A0223, 2015 WL 4313845 (Ga. Ct. App. July 16, 2015), the Court held that a state university and its officers and employees – as public employees – are entitled to sovereign immunity in their official capacities when sued under the TPFCA. On the other hand, the Court clarified that a public employee is not required to obtain approval from the Attorney General before filing a retaliation suit under the TPFCA against other public employees in their individual capacities.

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Eleventh Circuit Holds State Whistleblower Laws Preempted By National Bank Act

The Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals recently issued a decision that may significantly undercut whistleblower protections in the banking industry.  After acknowledging the issue of whether the National Bank Act (“NBA”) preempts the Florida Whistleblower Act (“FWA”) concerning a state-employment contract as one of first-impression, the court ruled that the FWA – which protects even private sector employees from retaliatory employer action for reporting, objecting to, or refusing to participate in a violation of law, rule, or regulation – is preempted by the NBA, which allows for termination of national bank officers “at pleasure.”

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