We may not all know the term emoji, but we have all seen them or used them. Emojis are small digital images or icons used to express an idea or emotion onine. The term is only a couple of decades old and derives from the Japanese words e, a picture, and moji, a letter or character.
Blogs by Jay P. Holland
The U.S. Supreme Court announced on Monday, June 26, that it plans to hear arguments later this year on a case that is of great importance to corporate whistleblowers and to people who support them.
The case centers on the Dodd-Frank law, which was passed by Congress in 2010 in the wake of the financial meltdown and provides major protections for whistleblowers, such as freedom from retaliation and potentially large cash awards for pointing out corporate wrongdoing.
Federal government employees are often in an excellent position to know about waste, fraud and abuse in government programs and to quietly inform others of what they know in order to punish wrongdoing, spur change and save the government vast sums of money. When they inform Congress, for example, about potentially illegal or wasteful practices in their agencies, federal employees are acting as whistleblowers – and they are protected under their own whistleblower statutes.
Whistleblowers and those who support and represent them will be pleased and energized by a December 28, 2016, ruling by U.S. District Judge George H. King of the Central District of California in a case involving the unapproved, or off-label, marketing of prescription drugs.
Doctors are generally allowed to prescribe prescription drugs for uses that haven’t been approved by the Food and Drug Administration, but pharma companies are barred under federal law from marketing drugs to doctors for these unapproved uses.
I often represent whistleblowers – employees in either the private or public sector who become aware of wrongdoing by their employers and come forward to report the wrongdoing in the interest of pressing for change and reform.
Over the years, we have won hundreds of millions of dollars in cases that were originally spurred by whistleblowers’ activities, and we have achieved courtroom victories for whistleblowers who suffered illegal retaliation precisely because they chose to blow the whistle on improper corporate actions.
A complaint that our firm has just filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of Maryland tells a powerful and appalling story of the abuse of an American citizen, convicted of no crime, at the hands of employees of PTS of America, Inc., a Nashville-based private company that is in the business of transporting prisoners and detainees.
Jay P. Holland, a principal in the Firm’s Civil Litigation Group and chair of the firm’s Labor, Employment, and Qui Tam Whistleblower practice, was quoted on July 25, 2016, in an article in Law360 concerning the National Basketball Association’s decision to relocate its 2017 All-Star game out of Charlotte, N.C. The NBA took that action in opposition to the state’s new law that restricts transgender people from using the bathroom of their choice.
Jeffrey Mills was the Director of Food and Nutritional Services for the District of Columbia Public Schools (DCPS) from 2010 to 2013. DCPS used Chartwells, a contractor, to provide its food and food services for students in DCPS. Mills saw enormous problems with Chartwells, including overbilling and, even worse, providing spoiled food to students. His complaints to DCPS officials were ignored. And when DCPS terminated his employment, he alleged that he was terminated in retaliation for blowing the whistle on Chartwells. Mills sued not only for retaliation but also for fraud against the D.C. government, under the qui tam provisions of the District of Columbia False Claims Act. D.C. Code Ann § 2-381.03. Chartwells settled with Mills for $450,000.00 for his retaliation claim, and settled with D.C. for $19,000,000.00, 30% of which could go to Mills, and the rest to D.C. to compensate it for the overbilling and spoiled food. https://www.washingtonpost.com/local/education/dc-schools-food-vendor-pays-19-million-to-settle-whistleblower-lawsuit/2015/06/05/bae8dd3c-0b96-11e5-9e39-0db921c47b93_story.html.
On February 26, 2016, a coworker shot seventeen employees at a Kansas factory, three of whom were killed. While this was a high profile active shooting, unfortunately, it is not the only such workplace shooting. As investigators piece together the motives for the murders, there is no question that there has been an alarming uptick of active shooting incidents in the U.S. over the past few years.
Amendments to False Claims Act expanded remedies for retaliation against contractors and others.
Hillary Clinton came in for criticism when word emerged that she'd bypassed her government email account while running the State Department in favor of her private account. But Corporate America is in no position to criticize, we learn in this special section—mixing of private and company email is rampant, and dangerous. We also investigate the difficulties liberal marijuana laws raise for employers and changes in federal whistleblower-protection laws.
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