Concepts and Procedures in Whistleblower Law

Concepts and Procedures in Whistleblower Law

Concepts and Procedures in Whistleblower Law

Concepts and Procedures in Whistleblower Law


Attorney, scholar, teacher Stephen Kohn presents a comprehensive, unified examination of the 35 federal laws that protect whistleblowers and their rights, plus the common law protections available in each of the 50 states. He provides a step-by-step overview of how to conceptualize and litigate whistleblower cases; detailed analyses of protections for employees who disclose environmental, nuclear, and health and safety violations; a clear, concise presentation of the most important protections contained in the First Amendment, the Civil Rights Act of 1971, and the False Claims Act's qui tam provisions. Kohn also gives detailed discussions of protected activity, discriminatory conduct, proof of retaliation, burdens of persuasion, damages, and attorney fees. The result is a major, practical resource for attorneys, executives, judges, legal scholars, and teachers in various fields of the law.


Over the past fifty years, a growing national consensus has recognized that whistleblowers positively contribute to society and need protection against retaliation. Despite this consensus, one of the most surprising features in whistleblower law is the absence of a national whistleblower protection statute. Unlike other areas of labor relations, such as age discrimination, race discrimination, and discrimination against union members, there is no uniform national law that protects whistleblowers. Instead of a national law that can be readily understood, there are over thirty separate federal statutes or constitutional provisions governing various types of whistleblowing, and each state has developed its own common law or statutory approach to whistleblower protection. Given the numerous potential laws that may govern any specific act of whistleblowing, and the radical differences in the protections available under these laws, any analysis of how to properly "blow the whistle" must start with a step-by-step review of the key factors that underlie whistleblower cases.


Step 1: Identifying a Remedy

The first step in reviewing a case is to determine what statutes or common law actions may be applicable to the employee&s whistleblowing. For example, if an employee working in the private sector blew the whistle in Louisiana on the dumping of toxic waste into the Mississippi River, that . . .

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