Whistleblowing and Retaliation
Lynne litigates whistleblower and retaliation claims involving senior executives and clients’ core businesses. She has achieved successful outcomes at trial, in motions practice and in arbitrations. Lynne also facilitates thorough internal investigations and remedial measures to address allegations related to employment practices, and she helps clients implement policies and training to limit future claims.
- Obtaining voluntary dismissal of a compliance officer’s whistleblowing claim that a company submitted fraudulent data to the FDA in an NDA. The claims were filed in federal court and widely reported in the media, triggering a sharp drop in share value. The allegations also resulted in FDA and SEC investigations. The matter was moved to arbitration. After the first week of the arbitration hearing, the plaintiff agreed to voluntarily dismiss the lawsuit without any monetary payment, and to issue a public statement that the company did not engage in any wrongdoing.
- Defeating claims of whistleblowing asserted against a hospital, it’s CEO and the director of its largest division. The claims involved allegations of improper patient care. After a five week trial, the jury returned a “no-cause” verdict on all claims.
- Obtaining summary judgment dismissal of claims of wrongful termination in retaliation for taking FMLA leave and filing a workers’ compensation claim.
As leader of the firm’s pay equity team, Lynne helps multistate clients comply with emerging equal pay, pay data reporting, salary band disclosure and related laws. Lynne has conducted company-wide and department-focused pay audits, working with human resources, legal and information technology personnel, as well as economic leaders, to identify pay disparities and their root causes, recommend options for documenting applicable defenses, and craft appropriate remedial measures. Lynne has also received a no-cause jury verdict in a federal Equal Pay Act trial brought by a senior executive.
When a company’s confidential information and business relationships are threatened, Lynne litigates claims of theft of these key assets by senior executives and salespeople. She also helps companies protect information by implementing restrictive covenant agreements and protocols to limit claim exposure during hiring.
- Successfully obtaining global restraints against a former head of marketing and his new employer based on claims of theft of confidential information, breach of a non-solicitation agreement and tortious interference. After expedited discovery, the matter settled at the preliminary injunction hearing. The executive was restrained from working for his new employer for six months, and from participating in key trade shows for one year, among other relief.
- Negotiating the pre-litigation release of all restrictive covenants of a partner exiting a large accounting firm to start a competing business.
When companies’ business needs change, Lynne counsels on all aspects of restructuring, including:
- Voluntary and involuntary separation policies/plans
- Selection criteria
- Disparate impact analysis
- Separation agreements
- Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act (WARN) compliance
- Talking points and Q&As as well as post reduction in force (RIF) communications with remaining workforce
Strategic Counseling, Training and Investigations
Lynne’s litigation background provides the insight to effectively counsel clients who are dealing with frontline employee issues. She helps implement policies and protocols to limit litigation. Lynne approaches each situation with sensitivity to the impact on the individuals involved and on the business operations. She also provides workforce and executive training on various topics, including respect in the workplace/prevention of harassment, performance management, conducting effective investigations and overview of U.S. employment laws. She also conducts investigations of complaints involving senior executives.
- Defending single- and multi-plaintiff discrimination and retaliation cases resolved through favorable early settlements, dispositive motions, arbitration or trial
- Defending national and statewide wage and hour class/collective actions alleging multiple wage and hour claims (unpaid regular and overtime wages, off-the-clock work, noncompliant meal and rest periods, and untimely payment of final wages)
- Leading national and state audits regarding wage and hour compliance including: classification of independent contractors and exempt/non-exempt workers; analysis of bonus and other incentive compensation programs to insure compliance with wage and hour laws; and timekeeping procedures
- Conducting sensitive investigations in response to internal complaints of discrimination and retaliation involving senior executives
- Defending charges of discrimination filed with the EEOC, state and local agencies
- Conducting audits of all HR forms, protocols, handbooks/policies and agreements to insure coordination and compliance with applicable laws including recently enacted legislation
- Providing interactive training that covers topics such as: “Respect in the Workplace”; ADA/FMLA/WC compliance; conducting effective internal investigations; appropriate use of emails; recruiting and interviewing protocols; and compliance with new legal developments