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Whistleblower Claim Should Not Have Been Dismissed In Part

Killgore v. SpecPro Prof’l Servs., LLC, 51 F.4th 973 (9th Cir. 2022)

While consulting for an environmental project for the United States Army Reserve Command, Aaron Killgore believed he was being required to prepare an environmental assessment in a manner that violated federal law. Killgore was fired shortly after he reported the suspected illegality to his supervisor and the Army Reserve’s project leader Chief Laura Caballero, who Killgore alleged gave the unlawful directives. The district court granted SpecPro’s partial motion for summary judgment, but the Ninth Circuit reversed, holding that Killgore’s disclosure to his supervisor was actionable even though the supervisor to whom Killgore made the disclosure did not have “authority to investigate, discover, or correct the violation” within the meaning of Cal. Lab. Code § 1102.5(b). The Court also held that Killgore’s disclosure to Caballero was an actionable disclosure to a “government agency” within the meaning of the statute even though the disclosure was part of Killgore’s normal duties and Caballero may have been a “wrongdoer” who was the subject of the disclosure. However, the Ninth Circuit affirmed dismissal of Killgore’s retaliation claim, finding that Killgore failed to present evidence that he refused to participate in illegal activity within the meaning of Section 1102.5(c).

© 2022 Proskauer Rose LLP. National Law Review, Volume XII, Number 327
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About this Author

Anthony J Oncidi, Employment Attorney, Proskauer Rose Law Firm
Partner

Anthony J. Oncidi heads the Labor & Employment Law Group in the Los Angeles office. Tony represents employers and management in all aspects of labor relations and employment law, including litigation and preventive counseling, wage and hour matters, including class actions, wrongful termination, employee discipline, Title VII and the California Fair Employment and Housing Act, executive employment contract disputes, sexual harassment training and investigations, workplace violence, drug testing and privacy issues, Sarbanes-Oxley claims and employee raiding and trade secret protection....

310-284-5690
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