Phillips & Associates

Internal Complaints

Whistleblower Lawyers Protecting the Rights of Residents in the Greater New York City Area

It can be stressful to know whether you should report your employer's misconduct or fraud to the authorities. You may feel that your job is on the line. Retaliation is prohibited under several different whistleblower statutes. This means that your employer should not take an adverse action against you for whistleblowing. However, internal complaints alone do not always receive the same level of protection under these anti-retaliation provisions as reporting misconduct to another authority, such as the SEC. Each whistleblower statute has different rules regarding whether internal complaints of misconduct or fraud at your place of work constitute protected activity. The experienced New York City whistleblower attorneys at Phillips & Associates may be able to represent you and guide you through the process of whistleblowing and any subsequent retaliation.

Internal Complaints Under Dodd-Frank

The Supreme Court has ruled that the Dodd-Frank Act anti-retaliation provisions do not protect someone who has not reported a violation of securities laws to the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). In that case, a vice-president of a real estate investment company believed that the company was violating securities laws by concealing millions in cost overruns, and he told senior managers but did not let the SEC know. He was fired and then sued for retaliation. The court explained that Dodd-Frank defines a whistleblower as somebody who gives original information about securities law violations to the SEC. The SEC had rules that allowed for internal whistleblowers, but the Supreme Court did not defer to those rules because the statute was not ambiguous in that regard. You will not receive the anti-retaliation protection if you only made an internal complaint.

Internal Complaints Under Sarbanes-Oxley

The Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002 ("SOX") protects corporate whistleblowers of publicly traded companies. The law requires all publicly traded corporations to develop internal audit committees that function independently. In order to follow Sarbanes-Oxley with regard to the purpose of these committees, publicly traded corporations are supposed to put in place procedures for employees to register internal whistleblower complaints, as well as a process that protects employee confidentiality when they complain to the audit committee. You can and should make internal complaints under Sarbanes-Oxley, but it can still be helpful to consult an experienced attorney. However, you also receive protection for providing truthful information to law enforcement officers about the possible commission of a federal crime.

Internal Complaints Under the False Claims Act

Prior to a 2009 amendment, the False Claims Act (FCA) only protected lawful acts performed by an employee on behalf of the employee to further a qui tam action. This included investigating, initiating, testifying, or assisting in a qui tam action. However, the FCA now protects any lawful acts done by an employee, agent, contractor, or associated others to further a qui tam action. Case law has shown that courts give wide latitude when interpreting protected activity under the amendment. For example, the FCA would protect you if you made an internal report of fraudulent activity to your supervisor. It would also protect you if you filed an internal complaint with management about concerns that you have about fraud at a lower level, since you took those steps to remedy fraudulent activity or were trying to figure out whether you had an actual qui tam action. Courts have required employees to have a subjectively and objectively reasonable belief that their employer engaged in fraud against the government in making the internal complaint or filing the qui tam action.

Hire a Skillful New York City Attorney for Your Whistleblower Claim

An experienced whistleblower attorney can ensure that you follow the proper procedures in case you need to blow the whistle on your employer and in case you have been subjected to retaliation. If you are concerned about making an internal complaint about a New York City employer that you believe has committed misconduct, fraud, or another legal violation, you should consult an experienced employment lawyer. Contact Phillips & Associates at (212) 248-7431 or through our online form for a free consultation. We handle employment litigation in the boroughs of the Bronx, Queens, Brooklyn, and Manhattan; the counties of Westchester, Nassau, and Suffolk; as well as New Jersey, Connecticut and Pennsylvania.

PHILLIPS & ASSOCIATES
45 Broadway, #620,
New York NY, 10006
Tel: 212-248-7431
Fax: 212-901-2107

Client Reviews
★★★★★
I called at Phillips & Associates seeking for a consultation and I was very pleased with the conversation I had with Eugenio Benvenuto. He was able to answer my questions thoroughly and gave me reassurance. I highly recommend their practice. Giulia
★★★★★
Hands down the best law firm for labor disputes in NYC. Being in the restaurant industry for more than 30 years I can say that this law firm is the number one choice for workers in the restaurant business that need to sue their company for wrongful termination. A special compliment to my lawyer Brittany Stevens. An amazing person and well prepared experienced lawyer. She was professional and empathetic to my case and worked in a time appropriate manner. She never miss a phone call at any hour of the day.The other associates that assisted Brittany were Yusha Hiraman, Eugenio Benvenuto and Katerina Housos. They were all professional and answered any questions or concerns that I had. Brittany and her team helped me with what I needed, when I needed it. I want to thank them all (especially Brittany), for a job well done. Massimo
★★★★★
Jesse Weinstein handled my discrimination case. He was extremely patient and understanding throughout the process and remained professional and consistent even when I could not. I really felt like he had my back and I didn't have to worry. His expertise, combined with the experience of the Firm, resulted in the best possible outcome of my case. Although I wouldn't wish what I went through on anyone, things do and always will happen and I would highly recommend Jesse and this Firm to anyone facing discrimination or other workplace issues. Karen
★★★★★
I highly recommend Parisis (Gerry) Fillippatos with Phillips & Associates to represent you for employment related matters. He and his team were professional, attentive to every detail and brilliant at identifying the legal grounds to win the case. Parisis's communication and delivery were highly articulate and precise. He is personable and makes you feel comfortable in the maze of legal jargon. Finally, his confidence, perseverance and masterful negotiation skills deliver the win. Anonymous
★★★★★
I had an excellent experience with this team! Thanks, Marjorie, Brittany, and Candy for your great support and prompt answers to all my questions. I highly recommend this firm. This team works very hard and I am extremely happy with the results. Ana