Insights

Home > News & Insights > Insights > New Whistleblower Claim In Consumer Protection Act

Share this on:   a b j c

New Whistleblower Claim In Consumer Protection Act

Published by on August 14, 2008

The Consumer Product Safety Act has been amended to include a whistleblower retaliation provision.  The Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act of 2008 was signed into law by President Bush on August 14, 2008. Section 219 of the Act is a whistleblower protection provision.  The text of Section 219 can be found here. (a) No manufacturer, […]

The Consumer Product Safety Act has been amended to include a whistleblower retaliation provision.  The Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act of 2008 was signed into law by President Bush on August 14, 2008.

Section 219 of the Act is a whistleblower protection provision.  The text of Section 219 can be found here.

(a) No manufacturer, private labeler, distributor, or retailer, may discharge an employee or otherwise discriminate against an employee with respect to compensation, terms, conditions, or privileges of employment because the employee, whether at the employee’s initiative or in the ordinary course of the employee’s duties (or any person acting pursuant to a request of the employee)-

‘‘(1) provided, caused to be provided, or is about to provide or cause to be provided to the employer, the Federal Government, or the attorney general of a State information relating to any violation of, or any act or omission the employee reasonably believes to be a violation of any provision of this Act or any other Act enforced by the Commission, or any order, rule, regulation, standard, or ban under any such Acts;

‘‘(2) testified or is about to testify in a proceeding concerning such violation;

 “(3) assisted or participated or is about to assist or participate in such a proceeding; or

‘‘(4) objected to, or refused to participate in, any activity, policy, practice, or assigned task that the employee (or other such person) reasonably believed to be in violation of any provision of this Act or any other Act enforced by the Commission, or any order, rule, regulation, standard, or ban under any such Acts.

The Act creates an administrative process for complaints by individuals who believe they have been discriminated against in violation of the statute, and provides for de novo review by a U.S. district court after the conclusion of the administrative investigation or the expiration of 210 days after the filing of the administrative complaint with the Department of Labor.  Unlike many other employment laws, the Act contains a penalty for frivolous or bad faith complaints:  “the Secretary may award to the prevailing employer a reasonable attorneys’ fee, not exceeding $1,000, to be paid by the complainant.”  Not exactly a high stakes penalty, but it is an attempt to level the playing field.

Hat tip to Jottings By An Employer’s Lawyer, which has a post on the new law here.

Topics:

Share:   a b j c