A former General Electric Co. (GE) employee who says he was fired after reporting potential corruption is not protected by Dodd-Frank whistleblower provisions, a federal judge ruled Thursday. U.S. District Judge Nancy Atlas said that the law’s anti-retaliation measures do not apply to Khaled Asadi, as his whistleblowing took place abroad.
In June 2010, while Asadi was working for GE’s Iraq operations, one of his contacts in the Iraqi government allegedly voiced concerns about the company’s hiring of Iman Mahmood. Mahmood supposedly had “close ties” to Iraq’s deputy minister of electricity Ra’ad al-Haris, who was handling negotiations for a $250 million sole-source contract with GE, and the perceived ties between the two led Asadi to voice concerns that the electric company had violated the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act.
GE fired Asadi the following year following a negative performance review. In response, Asadi filed a civil suit against his former employer, arguing that his termination was illegal under Dodd-Frank’s whistleblower protections. (GE maintains that Asadi’s firing was unrelated to his allegations).
Atlas, however, disagreed, citing a Supreme Court opinion in Morrison v. National Australia Bank Ltd., which she said “reaffirmed the ‘longstanding principle’ that Congress’ legislation doesn’t apply outside the United States ‘unless a contrary intent appears.’”
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