Whistleblower Protection and Lawsuits
Federal and state laws protect individuals who report or threaten to report illegal activity in their workplace or cheating of the government. Often an employee, independent contractor, or person with knowledge reports unsafe conduct or violation of the laws to their employer, a supervisor, law enforcement, supervisor or regulatory agencies that govern the conduct. The laws protect individuals who seek only to ensure that the laws and rules are enforced and to prevent fraud. Examples of cases where individuals have sued for violation of the whistleblower laws are:
- Reporting OSHA violations for unsafe workplaces;
- Reporting chemical spills or dumping in violation of EPA laws;
- Reporting to the pharmaceutical or medical board of unsafe or inappropriate prescriptions;
- The Employee refuses to issue a fraudulent certification;
- Reporting excessive bills to Medicaid or Medicare;
- Reporting to supervisors or management that the other employees have violated safety rules and regulations;
- Complaints of punishment, demotion or creation of a hostile workplace against an employee who refuses to participate in illegal or inappropriate conduct;
- Notifying the federal government of excessive or fraudulent billings by government contractors. (Federal False Claim Act or Qui Tam)
- Reporting fraudulent financial records to the SEC or audit committee for a publicly traded company. (Sarbanes-Oxley Act and Dodd-Frank Act.)
Federal and state laws exist to help employees in these situations. The type of damages or other forms of compensation include reinstatement of your job, lost back pay, lost future wages and earning capacity, emotional injuries, damage to our reputation, and humiliation for being laid off or creating a hostile work environment. Some claimants are also allowed double back pay. In certain cases, a government agency could pay you a portion of the sums recovered if based on fraudulent conduct or billing.
If you have experienced any retaliation in the workplace, don’t wait. Many whistleblower laws have short deadlines to file a claim. If you believe you have suffered any adverse actions such as termination, suspension, demotion, harassment or retaliation for reporting conduct or refusing to participate in activities that you believe are illegal contact one of our lawyers who will consult with you as to your rights and remedies.