Who doesn’t like all-expense-paid trips to the Atlantis Resort, the Venetian Hotel, or the Wintergreen Resort? A recent decision from a federal court of appeals gives us the answer: Jeffrey Wiest, an accountant for Tyco Electronics Corporation.
In Wiest v. Lynch, the Third Circuit tackled Wiest’s whistleblower claim, brought after he refused to approve corporate expenditures for conferences at luxurious lodgings.
Earlier this month, we blogged about an important decision by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit in Bechtel v. Administrative Review Board, a Sarbanes-Oxley whistleblower case. In Bechtel, thecourt upheld the Department of Labor’s denial of a whistleblower claim, even though it found that the administrative law judge (“ALJ”) had applied the wrong legal standard.
So how did the ALJ get the law wrong?
To understand the ALJ’s error, it’s important to understand how the governing law defines the burden of proof in a Sarbanes-Oxley case.
Based on the statistics, it is nearly impossible to win a whistleblower claim brought under the Sarbanes-Oxley Act. In 2010, the Center for Public Integrity wrote that the U.S. Department of Labor, which administers those claims, had only upheld 25 out of the 1,091 claims brought since the Act was passed in 2002. That’s only a 2% success rate.
Although Scott Bechtel’s case took a longer path than most, it is now another statistic on the side of failure.
We cover a broad range of issues that arise in employment disputes. Occasionally, we also spotlight other topics of relevant legal interest, ranging from health care to white-collar defense to sports, just to keep things interesting.
Led by Jason Knott and Andrew Goldfarb, and featuring attorneys with deep knowledge and expertise in their fields, Suits by Suits seeks to engage its readers on these relevant and often complicated topics. Comments and special requests are welcome and invited. Before reading, please view the disclaimer.