Whistleblower Retaliation & Job Loss
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If you have inside information about someone who is committing fraud against the Government, you may be worried about retaliation against you if you tell the truth. Will you lose your job? Will you be blackballed in your industry?
If you are concerned about all of these things and how whistleblowing can affect your future, do not hesitate to contact our attorney to discuss these matters. Lee Wallace at The Wallace Law Firm, LLC has been named one of Georgia’s Super Lawyers® for 10 years running, and has had legal matters in more than 20 states.
Call us for a free consultation to talk about your concerns.
Understanding Job Security When Whistleblowing
Many people assume that government statutes protect the jobs of everyone who reports fraud. Unfortunately, the statutes are not nearly that broad. For more information, contact The Wallace Law Firm, L.L.C. to see what protections are available for you. Lee Wallace has over 25 years of experience and graduated from Harvard Law School with honors. She puts that experience to work for whistleblowers like you.
Here is a brief run-down of statutes that may protect you:
- False Claims Act: The FCA protects the jobs of people who are reporting that fraudulent claims have been submitted to the United States government or to a contractor doing business with the U.S. In order to give whistleblowers (called relators) a reason to report fraud, the False Claims Act rewards whistleblowers in two ways. First, if the relator tells the Government about the fraud and is the first to file a lawsuit, the relator is entitled to between 15% and 30% of the money that the Government recovers in the legal case. Second, the Government has made it illegal to retaliate against someone who is blowing the whistle on fraud against the Government.
- Sarbanes-Oxley and SEC rules: Federal statutes and regulations make it illegal to retaliate against whistleblowers who report securities fraud to the SEC.
- Industry-specific retaliation statutes: A few industry-specific statutes protect people who are reporting violations of government agency regulations, such as trucking regulations.
- State statutes: Some states have enacted statutes that protect people who report fraudulent claims being made against those states. You can read Lee Wallace’s article on The Georgia Taxpayer Protection False Claims Act, which was published in the December 2012 Georgia Bar Journal at page 30.
Protection from Retaliation Under The False Claims Act
Under the False Claims Act, a whistleblower is called a qui tam “relator”, because the whistleblower brings suit on behalf of the Government in order to stop fraud against the Government. The federal statute acknowledges that whistleblowers have got to be protected from losing so much that they literally cannot afford to tell the truth.
Section 42 U.S.C. § 3730(h), which is part of the False Claims Act, makes it illegal for a company to retaliate against someone reporting or trying to stop fraud against the Government. The employee does not have to prove that the employer actually violated the False Claims Act. The Supreme Court has definitively ruled that: “proving a violation of § 3729 is not an element of a § 3730(h) cause of action.” Graham County Soil & Water Conservation Dist. v. United States ex rel. Wilson, 545 U.S. 409, 416 (U.S. 2005).
In 2009, the False Claims Act was rewritten clarify that employees do not have to be reporting fraud to the Government in order to claim retaliation.
Work with an Elite Legal Professional
Lee Wallace regularly lectures about the False Claims Act and other whistleblower statutes at continuing legal education seminars for attorneys. She has been named one of Georgia’s Top 100 Lawyers and Top 100 Trial Lawyers.
Contact our office to learn more about your whistleblower lawsuit.