Michael J. Slocum

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The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (“OSHA”) announced in a May 17, 2012 notice published in the Federal Register that it will establish a Whistleblower Protection Advisory Committee (“Committee”) in an effort “to improve the fairness, efficiency, effectiveness, and transparency of OSHA’s whistleblower protection activities.” Creation of the Committee follows OSHA’s March 2012 reorganization providing for direct reporting to the Department of Labor’s Office of the Assistant Secretary, and further evidences the agency’s intention to devote…
On May 9, 2012, the Second Circuit held that Title VII’s “participation clause,” prohibiting an employer from retaliating against any employee who participates in an investigation “under” Title VII, requires participation in a formal investigation involving the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (“EEOC”) – participating in purely internal investigations, conducted pursuant to the employer’s own policies and procedures, is not sufficient to trigger the statutory protections. Townsend v. Benjamin Enterprises, Inc., No. 09-0197.  The Second…
The Administrative Review Board (“ARB”) on April 27, 2012 held that where an employer charged with retaliation under the AIR21 Statute can point to evidence of misconduct by a whistleblower which would have justified termination, but which was acquired after the termination had already occurred, that evidence may be used to limit the period for which back pay damages are recoverable. Clemmons v. Ameristar Airways, Inc., ARB Case No. 08-067. The ARB remanded the matter…
The Administrative Review Board (“ARB”) on March 28, 2012 held that the whistleblower protection provisions of the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act of 2008 (“CPSIA” or “Act”) are not limited to those who raise concerns only as to a “consumer product” as defined in the Act, but extends to any matter falling within the jurisdiction of the Consumer Product Safety Commission. Saporito v. Publix Super Markets, Inc., ARB Case No. 10-073. The ARB has thereby…
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (“OSHA”) announced on March 1, 2012 that its Office of the Whistleblower Protection Program (“WPP”) will now report directly to the Department of Labor’s Office of the Assistant Secretary, rather than to its Directorate of Enforcement Programs. The restructuring signals an elevated priority placed on enforcement of the whistleblower protection laws falling under OSHA’s jurisdiction, and suggests that the Agency intends to devote increased efforts and resources to this area…