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Vedder Thinking | News Heather Sager Quoted in Compliance Week Article Discussing Employer Risks upon Expansion of Whistleblower Protections

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Heather M. Sager, Administrative Shareholder in Vedder Price's San Francisco office and member of the firm's Labor and Employment group, was recently quoted in the article, "As Whistleblower Protections Expand, Companies Must Act," in Compliance Week. The article discusses the need for companies to address the potential risk of whistleblower retaliation in light of increased whistleblower complaints, increased regulation protecting corporate whistleblowers and a recent Supreme Court decision that expands whistleblower protections to employees of private companies. In the article, Ms. Sager states that having an "open-door" policy that encourages employees to speak up is not enough to protect employers from claims of retaliation but that it is more important for employers to carefully take proper action once a complaint has been made, even if the complaint is baseless. Ms. Sager points out that whistleblower protections do not depend on whether a concern is justified or results in an actual legal violation; she states that liability can be established by the actions of operational managers who work with the employees on a daily basis and make decisions in response to the protected activity. Thus, Ms. Sager warns that managers and supervisors should take every complaint seriously and look into complaints when they are reported.

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Heather M. Sager