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December 2010 Archives

Virginia Gov. Responds to Whistleblowing Fraud Allegations

Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell is suffering some unwanted attention from the media these days pursuant to claims that he did not act upon fraud allegations outlined in a whistleblowing letter that his office received in October 2006 while he was the state's attorney general.

Ernst & Young Target of Ex-Lehman Executive Whistleblower

Ex-Lehman Brothers senior vice president Matthew Lee says it didn't take the company long to respond to a letter he sent to its finance chief and other executives in May 2008 detailing his concerns regarding balance sheet improprieties and other financial irregularities going on at the company. He claims the company engaged in whistleblower retaliation by summarily removing him from a meeting and firing him on the spot.

Court Orders Factory Owners to Pay Workers Unpaid Wages, Overtime

An Orange County, California, clothing manufacturer began failing to pay its garment shop workers in early spring of this year, while continuing to accept the benefits of their full-time employment. The Department of Labor began an investigation, and a U.S. District Court judge recently found in favor of the department in a ruling that restores nearly $900,000 to 115 workers.

Judge Demands Kaiser Restore Employees' Bargained-for Benefits

It is safe to say that Kaiser Permanente of California does not rank high as an employer in the estimation of Judge William Schmidt. In a Los Angeles federal court last week, Schmidt cited the "massive damage done" to the rights of bargaining employees by the unilateral and adverse changes Kaiser made to the terms of their employment, including wages and various other benefits. Schmidt ordered Kaiser to pay unpaid wages owed to more than 40,000 workers, restore scheduled wage increases with interest, reimburse employees with tuition expenses and provide all the other benefits it was withholding that were provided for under a previous union contract.

Whistleblower Suit Alleges Rolls-Royce Aircraft Engine Defects

Thomas McArtor, a senior quality control official for the London-based Rolls-Royce Corporation, filed a qui tam claim under the Federal False Claims Act in January 2008 that alleged acts of company fraud against the U.S. government. His complaint was kept under seal during that time while the Department of Justice investigated his allegations. After nearly three years, McArtor's complaint was unsealed just last week by a federal court in Indianapolis, with the case now going forward on behalf of the government.

Overtime Pay Violations Range Widely in Type and Scope

California is fertile ground these days for illustrating the wide range of employer actions or omissions that can lead to claims by employees that they were unlawfully denied overtime payments. The following lawsuits serve to demonstrate that.

University Pres. Rescinds Criticized Nondisclosure Agreements

Until last week, interactions between Virginia Commonwealth University President Michael Rao and employees working in his office were subject to a rather unusual restriction, namely, a complete prohibition on the latter concerning any discussion about Rao or his family members inside or outside the office.

Jury Awards Engineer Damages in Employment Dispute

A jury in a federal court in St. Paul, Minnesota, recently awarded an engineer nearly $2 million in an employment dispute against Seagate Technology, a global manufacturer of computer hard drives and storage solutions. The case focused centrally on alleged bad faith actions taken by Seagate concerning its treatment of the engineer, Chandramouli Vaidyanathan.

Entertainment Co., "Legend" at Odds over Noncompete Agreement

Live Nation Entertainment Inc., a major player in the concert promotion business, hired Michael Cohl, a stated "legend in the concert industry," as its chairman in 2008. A large part of Cohl's allure was his expected ability to ink major stars to contracts covering concerts, recordings and sponsorship deals.

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I was impressed with his knowledge and professionalism, and I will always be grateful for his guidance.

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