U.S. Supreme Court Affirms Whistleblower Protections

Federal law states that employers are not allowed to fire workers in retaliation when the employee calls out the company through “whistleblower” actions.  However, there had  been some confusion about whether the employee had the burden of proving that he or she was fired for that reason.

In a recent decision, a unanimous Supreme Court held that the employee does not have to prove he or she was fired due to “retaliatory intent” and instead the employer has the burden of showing that they would have made the same personnel decision even absent the employee’s whistleblower status.

The opinion upheld the employee’s retaliatory discharge (wrongful termination or wrongful firing) claim against the employer.  As a result, the company – UBS – was ordered to pay the employee over $900,000 in back wages.

The decision by the high court assures whistleblower employees of more protection.  If an employee files a whistleblower claim and the employer later fires the employee, the employer will do so knowing it is potentially opening itself up to significant liability under a retaliatory discharge claim.

If you are aware that your employer is engaging in illegal or unethical practices through financial violations, Medicare fraud, or other means, you should talk to a lawyer to understand your options.

UBS Loses to Whistleblower in Wide-Reaching Supreme Court Decision – WSJ