Choate Launches Whistleblower Defense Group
Choate Press Release
| October 27, 2015
Choate, Hall & Stewart LLP today announced that the firm has launched a Whistleblower Defense Group to be chaired by Gregory Keating, who recently rejoined the firm as partner and chair of Choate’s Labor, Employment & Benefits Group.
The Whistleblower Defense Group provides broad experience in the representation of employers increasingly besieged by whistleblower and retaliation cases arising under Sarbanes-Oxley, Dodd-Frank and the False Claims and Foreign Corrupt Practices Acts. This practice brings together the two critical components of the response needed when a company faces a whistleblower crisis; navigating the workplace havoc which ensues when a whistleblower claims wrongdoing and retaliation and the investigations know-how needed when the government puts its magnifying glass on a company’s books and operations.
“Choate’s Whistleblower Defense Group is a key part of our strategy long-term, and is one of the reasons we are delighted that Greg rejoined the firm. His addition makes Choate uniquely qualified to handle both whistleblower defense and government investigations that frequently arise from these cases,” said Choate Co-Managing Partner Bill Gelnaw. “Greg has collaborated for years with our Government Enforcement and Compliance Group, which consistently earns high marks for its success in resolving sensitive matters. Choate is now one of the nation’s strongest firms in this area.”
Mr. Keating brings a unique background to the Group as the management representative appointed by the Secretary of Labor serving a second term on the Department of Labor’s Whistleblower Protection Advisory Committee (WPAC). The Committee makes recommendations to the Secretary of Labor and the Assistant Secretary of Labor for Occupational Safety and Health on ways to improve the fairness, efficiency, effectiveness, and transparency of OSHA's administration of whistleblower protections. Mr. Keating is the principal author of the definitive national treatise Whistleblowing & Retaliation, Fifth Edition - published by LexisNexis and he testified in the United States Senate on whistleblowing issues in 2014. At his prior firm before rejoining Choate in September 2015, Mr. Keating founded and chaired the first Whistleblower Defense Practice Group in the country in 2009.
Choate’s Whistleblower Defense Group represents clients in matters arising under a growing array of state and federal statutes which encourage and protect whistleblowers while putting their employers in the cross hairs of powerful federal agencies, including the Department of Labor, the Securities and Exchange Commission and the Department of Justice. Whistleblower litigation has spiked since 2013, not only in response to burgeoning federal legislation, but also as a result of recent multi-million dollar awards to employees.
“Stepped up government enforcement and broad bipartisan support for increased whistleblower protections make this an area that will remain exceptionally active for the foreseeable future,” said Mr. Keating. “Internal investigation capabilities are now an essential element of any company’s response when it becomes the target of a whistleblower. Particularly in the health care and financial sectors, where whistleblower activity is at near-epidemic levels, the deep experience Choate brings to the table will be a game-changer for corporations.”
Members of Choate’s newest practice are experienced in representing employers at every stage, from developing compliance and reporting controls to mitigate risk, to conducting targeted internal investigations responsive to whistleblowers’ claims and providing strategic advice to avoid retaliation claims, to delivering proven defense approaches in litigations against retaliation claims. The group is dedicated to resolving whistleblower matters at the earliest possible stage, discretely handling sensitive matters and achieving success at every level of engagement.
The group’s experience spans a range of industries, including education, financial services and insurance, government contracting, healthcare, hospitality, manufacturing, pharmaceuticals, professional services, railroad, retail, software, technology and telecommunications. And their reach extends from federal and state trial and appellate courts, including the U.S. Supreme Court, to federal and state administrative agencies – including the EEOC, OSHA, DOL, and SEC – to arbitration and mediation.