Letter to the editor of The New York Times from Phillips & Cohen partner Colette Matzzie discussing the need for protection of whistleblowers from retaliation.
Protecting Whistle-Blowers Against Retaliation
Your succinct condemnation of state “ag-gag” laws (“No More Exposés in North Carolina,” editorial, Feb. 1) highlighted a problem that all consumers, investors and taxpayers should be concerned about — not just people worried about the inhumane treatment of animals at factory farms.
In the 12 years that I’ve been representing whistle-blowers, I’ve seen health care companies and other businesses use the courts to use increasingly aggressive tactics to retaliate against whistle-blowers who report fraud and harmful, illegal practices by their employers. The recent development of state laws that allow companies to sue whistle-blowers — whether for videotaping animal cruelty or documenting other wrongdoing — is simply a way to intimidate individuals from blowing the whistle.
State legislatures should be considering ways they can encourage and reward whistle-blowers to help law enforcement, which will benefit all of their citizens, rather than enacting statutes that allow businesses to hide their criminal practices behind closed doors.
COLETTE G. MATZZIE
February 9, 2016