Whistleblower Retaliation Lawsuit Filed in FCPA Case – Don’t Limit Grievance Reviews to Thai Law Alone


US law not only rewards "whistleblowers" in FCPA cases (see article here), but it also prohibits employers from taking retaliatory action against whistleblowers.   In a  8 February 2012 article the Huffington Post reports on such an alleged retaliation claim that was recently filed in Texas:

Khaled Asadi says he objected to GE's hiring of a woman close to a senior Iraqi official in the summer of 2010 in order to "curry favor" with the Iraqi electricity ministry while bidding on a $250 million contract. The move "could be damaging to GE's reputation and potentially violate the Foreign Corrupt Practice Act," according to a whistleblower lawsuit filed on Friday in federal court in Houston.

This article goes on to report that

A spokesman for GE vigorously denied the accusation, stating that “Mr. Asadi's termination had absolutely nothing to do with any allegations he is making. Regarding our contracts in Iraq, GE followed all requirements and his allegations are false.”

In Thailand, it is not uncommon to see disgruntled employees, particularly expatriates and dual nationals, raise grievances that seem irrelevant or only remotely relevant to the issues typically raised in Thai labour court proceedings.  Although we have not yet seen a disgruntled employee here claim that she or he was being terminated for blowing the whistle on a FCPA violation, we have seen employees raise claims that seem only remotely relevant to Thai law and practice, but fall squarely within the provisions of U.S. laws intended to protect whistleblowers in other areas or prevent certain types of discrimination (age) that are often widely accepted in Thailand.  And we have seen these same claimants pursue such claims both locally here in Thailand and in the U.S.   Don't limit your grievance reviews of Thai employees to Thai law alone.