What is a "Whistleblower?"
"Whistleblower" is a term originally used to describe a person who reported the unlawful acts of a business or corporation that was conning the government. However, its definition has expanded over the years to describe anyone who reports business or corporate crimes that are being done without the victim's knowledge.
A whistleblower can report environmental or health violations, financial fraud, or any act considered as unlawful or against public policy.
Some examples of illegal acts disclosed by whistleblowers include, but are not limited to, the following:
- Abuse or misuse of business funds by officers and directors
- Sexual harassment resulting to a hostile work environment
- Improper toxic waste disposal that violate environmental laws and regulations
- Fraud in government procurement and purchasing
Whistleblower Protection Laws
Whistleblowers often experience employment retaliation, threats, and even acts of physical violence. As a result, whistleblowers are protected by various federal and state whistleblower protection laws and their activities are done confidentially.
To qualify for protection under such laws, an individual does not need to report an action that is in actual fact a violation of public policy or law. He or she only has to reasonably believe that the act being disclosed is violating the law or public policy.
False Claims Act
The False Claims Act, also referred to as "Qui Tam Laws," protects employees who disclose suspected false claims. Under this act, an employee who is mistreated, suspended, demoted, or terminated for whistleblowing or reporting suspected claims are entitled to reinstatement of his/her earlier position, back pay, as well as compensation for other special damages that result from retaliation.
Qui Tam Statutes permit whistleblowers to really step into the government's shoes and seek damages for the government. This law exists at the federal level and has been adopted by some states.
The federal False Claims Act allows someone who has knowledge of fraud against the U.S. Government, known as the "qui tam plaintiff," to bring legal action on behalf of the government against the business or party that committed the scheme, known as the defendant. If it is successful, the qui tam plaintiff is recompensed with the recovery's percentage, ranging from 15% up to 30%.
Whistleblower Protection Claims
If you have been retaliated against, mistreated, demoted, suspended, or terminated because of reporting an illegal act done by your employer, you may file a whistleblower protection claim.
To help you with such cases, you must seek legal assistance from an expert employment law attorney who has more than enough knowledge and skills in dealing with cases related to whistleblower protection claims.