If you discover that your company is engaged in fraudulent activity, the right thing to do is to report their misconduct. However, many employees do not do this for fear of retaliation, so it’s important to know that as a whistleblower you do have protection. By law your employer cannot retaliate against you for whistleblowing. If you lose your job, get demoted, or suffer any other negative consequences as a result of your actions then you stand not only to receive compensation from your qui tam litigation, but you will also be reinstated to your job, compensated for your losses, receive back pay or double pay, and will most likely have your attorney fees covered as well.
Do the Right Thing
Doing what’s right is never an easy thing, and individuals who blow the whistle on their workplace often run the risk of some sort of retaliation or negative consequence because of their actions.
Being a whistleblower comes with huge risks to the person doing it. The EEOC data shows that one in three charges laid by whistleblowers will result in retaliation. But because qui tam cases enable the government to recover stolen funds, there are a number of laws in place to protect whistleblowers.
While whistleblower protection laws vary from state to state and there is no single blanket protection law, there are a number of national federal laws to ensure your protection. OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration), The False Claims Act (FCA), The Whistleblower Protection Act, and the U.S. Office of Special Counsel (OSC) are all programs that protect whistleblowers in different situations.
If you are thinking of blowing the whistle, you need to be informed and prepared. Download the Essential Guidance On Qui Tam and Whistleblower Lawsuits for expert knowledge on what to expect if you blow the whistle on your workplace. In any case, it is important to remember that you are protected by the following laws:
The False Claims Act (FCA)
When it comes to whistleblowing in Medicaid and Medicare fraud, the FCA is the most commonly used whistleblower protection act. There are both state and federal versions of the FCA and it covers whistleblower cases that result in the loss of money to the government as a result of fraud and fund mismanagement.
Not only does the FCA provide financial compensation, it also protects whistleblowers from being “discharged, demoted, suspended, threatened, harassed, or in any other manner discriminated against in the terms and conditions of employment.”
OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration)
OSHA Whistleblower Protection comprises over 22 federal laws that apply to the violation reported by the whistleblower. These laws ensure that your employers cannot take part in any “unfavorable personnel actions” against you that include but are not limited to:
- Termination (firing or layoffs)
- Reduction or change of hours
- Denial of promotion
- Reassignment that affects promotion prospects
Remember that retaliation cases are time-sensitive and must be reported as soon as you possibly can.
The U.S. Office of Special Counsel (OSC)
In 2012, an addendum was added to the Whistleblower Protection Act which gave the OSC jurisdiction over any case of retaliation on whistleblowers by employees. Although this applies to all states in the U.S. some states have additional laws to protect whistleblowers. These states are outlined here by the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL).
Hire a Whistleblower Law Firm
If you are bringing claims of fraudulent behavior and illegal activities against your employers, it is best to be equipped with a law firm that is experienced in whistleblower cases. Laws around qui tam cases are complicated and the likelihood of winning your case and avoiding retaliation against you is directly affected by having the right people in your corner.
At Coxwell & Associates, we have over 36 years of experience. We we can advise and assist you at every step of this difficult but important process. Contact us if you are thinking of blowing the whistle on fraud.
Disclaimer: This blog is intended as general information purposes only, and is not a substitute for legal advice. Anyone with a legal problem should consult a lawyer immediately.