On Demand Audio

Empowering Employees to Protect Food Safety Part II: Protections for Private-Sector Employees Under the Food Safety Modernization Act

(52 reviews)

Produced on May 04, 2015

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Course Information

Time 60 minutes
Difficulty Advanced

Course Description

Whistleblowers have played a critical role in protecting the public from corporate and government practices that compromise food safety.  The Food Safety Modernization Act, passed in 2011 to promote a safer U.S. food supply, included a robust whistleblower protection provision recognizing the important role whistleblowers play in preventing wide-spread public health problems resulting from unsafe processing, manufacturing, packing and transportation of food products. 


In this program, attorney Sarah Nash offers nuts-and-bolts training for employment lawyers on how to effectively litigate whistleblower claims under the Food Safety Modernization Act’s whistleblower protection provision, which provides groundbreaking whistleblower rights to workers engaged in the processing, manufacturing, packing and transportation of food products.  The provision prohibits retaliation against covered workers who disclose violations of laws enforced by the FDA, and provides workers with the ability to enforce their rights by filing a complaint with the Department of Labor or, in certain circumstances, federal district court.  Attendees will learn how to litigate cases under this provision from the point of filing the initial complaint through to successful resolution, how to counter restrictive interpretations of the law, and how to avoid and overcome delays and obstacles.  


Learning Objectives:

I.     Identify the types of employees protected by this whistleblower protection provision 

II.    Recognize the categories of protected speech and activities covered by this provision 

III.   Understand the applicable burdens of proof and remedies available under this provision 

IV.   Comprehend where, when, and how to file a complaint, and the various procedural steps that occur prior to issuance of a final decision 

V.    Grasp how to appeal erroneous decisions, how to seek review in federal court when the Department of Labor fails to meet applicable deadlines, and how to respond to arguments advancing narrow, restrictive interpretations of the law 

Credit Information

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Sarah Nash

Government Accountability Project

As counsel for the Government Accountability Project’s (GAP) Food Integrity Campaign, Sarah represents food industry whistleblowers in both the public and private sectors, and practices before the federal courts and administrative agencies. In addition to her work with whistleblowers, Sarah assists activists and nonprofit organizations to obtain government records under the Freedom of Information Act and other transparency laws. 


After receiving a B.A. from Stanford University, and J.D. from George Mason School of Law, Sarah completed a two-year fellowship with the Service Employees International Union, Local 32BJ, where she worked within the Office of General Counsel to provide legal advice to the union. Sarah has a background in labor, employment and administrative law and prior to joining GAP, she worked at the labor and employment law firm Osborne Law Offices, P.C. She is licensed to practice law in the District of Columbia and New York.



Jordan H.

Very concise and informative--especially considering the "newness" of the law in this area.

Phillip B.

Very informative with good information presented in an understandable way.

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