Seyfarth Shaw’s partner James Curtis was quoted in the October 2012 issue of Chicago Lawyer in an article discussing the rise in whistleblower cases over the last few years. With a vibrant Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSHA) practice, and with OSHA responsible for litigating whistleblower cases, Jim handles a wide variety of whistleblower cases. However, a consistent trend in all types of whistleblower claims is towards more complaints and longer time to resolution of the complaints.

The increasing number of employment retaliation whistleblower cases handled by the OSHA has decreased its ability to resolve those claims. Based on Seyfarth Shaw’s research on this topic, it found that the number of cases overall grew by about nineteen percent between 2008 and 2011, while the number of completed cases increased just one-half of a percent.

“So, there’s this ever-growing divide between the number of cases received and completed that creates this delta of whistleblowers that are still walking around and employed at workplaces,” Jim said. Under that scenario, employers must resist the “knee-jerk” reaction to try and root out the whistleblower and punish them for their actions — which, while illegal, can prove difficult to resist.

“In-house counsel need to spend time planning for this and making sure that they’ve got their policies and procedures in place, that they’re dealing with it on the front end. Because whistleblower cases can get really expensive.”