Anti-Money Laundering

Congress enacted the Anti-Money Laundering Act on January 1, 2021. As a result, AMLA dramatically increased protection for whistleblowers under the Banking Secrecy Act, 31 U.S. Code § 5323.

Who is protected?

AMLA provides broad protection for whistleblowers who have reported violations of the Banking Secrecy Act.  This includes:

Importantly, AMLA protects external whistleblowers, meaning those who report to outside federal agencies, as well as internal whistleblowers, meaning employees who report to their own employer. 

However, AMLA does not apply to Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) and Federal Credit Union Act (FCUA) insured entities. Instead, must rely on whistleblower protections, in the Federal Deposit Insurance Act and the Federal Credit Union Act.

What is retaliation or wrongful termination?

Under AMLA, “[n]o employer may, directly or indirectly, discharge, demote, suspend, threaten, blacklist, harass, or in any other manner discriminate against a whistleblower in the terms and conditions of employment or post-employment.”

What are the time limits to file a claim?

An employee must file a claim with the Secretary of Labor within 180 days of the adverse action.

How do I prove retaliation or wrongful termination?

        To prove a claim of retaliation, an employee must show that they engaged in a protected act, the employer subjected them to an adverse action, that the employer knew about the protected act, and that the act was a contributing factor in the adverse action. AMLA, similar to other federal statutes, applies the contributing factor standard for causation. As a result, the employee only needs to show that the protected act was a factor which, alone or with other factors, in any way affects the outcome of a decision. 

How do I file a retaliation or wrongful termination lawsuit?

Under AMLA, an employee must file a complaint with the Secretary of Labor. If the Secretary of Labor has not issued a final decision within 180 days of the filing of a complaint, the employee may file a claim in federal district court.

What damages are available?

If an employee proves a violation under AMA, the employee may be entitled to recover lost wages, mental anguish, punitive damages, and attorneys’ fees.