Though the ethanol industry makes a tremendous positive impact on the economy, including creating numerous jobs, it is not immune from the challenges of preventing, managing and defending against employees’ retaliation and whistleblower claims. Despite employers’ best efforts, such claims continue to grow. Employers in the ethanol and other industries also must contend with the law’s ever-evolving interpretation of which activities and parties are covered by federal and state retaliation and whistleblower laws.
A prime example of this challenging and developing area of the law is the U.S. Department of Labor’s recently released final rule, outlining the OSHA procedure for handling retaliation complaints under the Sarbanes-Oxley Act, known as SOX. Developed in response to the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act (Dodd-Frank), the final rule makes it easier for whistleblowers to trigger an OSHA retaliation investigation, thus potentially increasing the retaliation claims employers brought by whistleblower employees.
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