Search Site

Recent Case Highlights Importance of Retaining Legal Counsel During Internal Investigations

If a business or organization becomes aware of potential wrongdoing by one of its employees, it should conduct a thorough internal investigation to get to the bottom of the issue. During this process, the company’s attorneys and investigators may interview workers, collect documentation and gather various other forms of data and information related to the case.

A recent decision from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit indicates that employers are indeed justified in terminating any employees who do not comply with these investigations. This includes denying these individuals severance benefits.

At issue in this recent case, Gilman v. Marsh & McLennan Cos., was the fact that Gilman, an employee of Marsh & McLennan, declined to participate in an ongoing internal investigation. Because of this, the firm decided to fire Gilman, who then sued, claiming that the company violated the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) and was liable for breach of contract.

According to the Second Circuit decision, Marsh & McLennan’s order for Gilman to participate in the investigation was reasonable. As a result, the firm was within its legal right to fire the employee.

A difficult decision for employees

Legal scholars believe that his issue will become even more relevant in the future, especially in the wake of the September 2015 “Yates Memo” from the U.S. Department of Justice. This memo emphasized individual responsibility for corporate violations, which means more employees across the country will likely face the same choice as Gilman — whether or not to cooperate with a company’s internal investigations. It’s best to work with an experienced attorney to determine your best steps moving forward.

If you are aware of wrongdoing within your organization and would like to explore your options for becoming a whistleblower, consult a dedicated attorney at Whistleblower Law for Managers in Dallas, Texas.

Awards & Honors
Our Office
  • Dallas Office
    4514 Cole Ave
    Dallas, Texas 75205
    Phone: 214-306-8045
    Fax: 469-729-9926
As Seen In
In his new book, "Standing Up to China: How a Whistleblower Risked Everything for His Country," former client & Author, Ashley Yablon, quotes Attorney Steve Kardell about Whistelblower Law.
  • "Steve Kardell was terrific in representing me in some very adversarial discussions with Citigroup and also later represented me in my testimony before the Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission."  -Richard Bowen, Citigroup Whistleblower

  • "Incredible knowledge of employee related concerns and equally brilliant knowledge of health care regulations, standards of practice. I would recommend this firm to anyone."  -V.B.

  • "Reaching out to Steve Kardell was the best decision I made. His ability to provide immediate insight and direction was very powerful, and a huge relief during a very stressful time period. For anyone struggling with a whistleblower situation, I would highly recommend at least speaking with Steve. After a 10 minute call with him, I had a better understanding of what I was dealing with. Even better, he gave me some immediate hope. In the end Steve did a better job than I thought was possible. Steve was able to get in contact with people in my organization, that I didn’t have access to. Because of his years of experience, he already has contacts in many organizations in Dallas. The entire situation was handled peacefully. I was impressed by his ability to “keep the peace”–rather than creating a battle with the organization. The reason I didn’t reach out to a lawyer initially, was because I thought it would mean an immediate end to any hope of a positive relationship with the company. Steve was able to address my concerns, and in the end I was able to continue to work for them."  -KS

  • "Never thought my career would end like it did after 30 years of service. I was part of the first round of the so called reduction of force. I asked myself how can I be part of this with 30 years of seniority. How did they pick these 90 plus employees? Now, the culture of this organization made you question every decision they made. It wasn’t what you knew it’s was a culture of who you know. Nonetheless, I did not accept their severance package. I immediately starting looking for an attorney who would take on my case. After the initial call to Steve I had hope again. He was open and honest about everything and reassured me he would do his best for me, and he did. I had an awesome outcome. Thanks Steve you’re the best."  -S.S.