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Protecting Whistle-Blowers Against Retaliation – Letter to the Editor

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.

February 9, 2016

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