Criminal Antitrust Anti-Retaliation Act (CAARA) (15 U.S.C. s. 7a-3)
- CAARA, signed into law on December 23, 2020, prohibits employers from taking adverse employment action against covered individuals who report criminal antitrust violations to their employer or to the federal government, or who participate in a federal governmental criminal antitrust investigation or proceeding.
- Employees who believe that they were discharged or otherwise discriminated against for reporting a violation of this law may file a complaint with the Secretary of Labor within 90 days after the date on which the discrimination occurs.
- Following an investigation into the complaint, the Secretary of Labor will issue findings. When the Secretary concludes that there is reasonable cause to believe that a violation of CAARA has occurred, the findings will be accompanied by a preliminary order providing relief to the complainant. Both the complainant and respondent have 30 days after they are notified of the findings to file objections to the findings and/or order and request a hearing before the Office of Administrative Law Judges.
- Individuals bear the burden of establishing a prima facie case that their protected activity was a "contributing factor" to the employer's alleged adverse action.
- If the employer demonstrates by clear and convincing evidence that "the employer would have taken the same unfavorable personnel action in the absence" of the protected activity, the DOL cannot provide relief for the covered individual.
- If the Secretary of Labor has not issued a final decision within 180 days of the filing of the complaint and there is no showing that such delay is due to the bad faith of the claimant, the claimant may bring an action at law or equity for de novo review in the appropriate district court of the United States, which shall have jurisdiction over such an action without regard to the amount in controversy.
- Relief for any action shall include reinstatement with the same seniority status that the covered individual would have had but for the discrimination, back pay with interest and compensation for any special damages sustained as a result of the discrimination including litigation costs, expert witness fees and reasonable attorney's fees.
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