Employees who “blow the whistle” on their Employer’s misconduct are protected under various federal and state laws. These laws not only prohibit retaliation against employees who report workplace wrongdoing, but may also allow for a significant recovery by the employee who stands up to such fraud and blows the whistle. The opportunity for ordinary citizens who initiate such lawsuits and recover significant monetary awards has resulted in a tremendous amount of employer fraud to be discovered and remediated.
The primary law adopted specifically to protect Whistleblowers is the federal False Claims Act (“FCA”)(31 U.S.C.§§ 3729–3733), which was initially directed towards combatting fraud by unscrupulous suppliers to the Union army during the Civil War. The act known as “Lincoln’s Law” (as it was signed into law by Abraham Lincoln), encourages whistleblowers by promising them a percentage of the money recovered, or damages won by the government, and protects them from wrongful dismissal. This recovery can be substantial. The False Claims Act provides the principal means of protection, and recovery for Whistleblowers.
Those who report a false claim against the federal government, and suffer adverse employment actions as a result, may have up to six (6) years to file a civil suit for remedies under the False Claims Act (FCA). Under a qui tam provision, the “original source” for the report may be entitled to a percentage of what the government recovers from the offenders. However, the “original source” must also be the first to file a federal civil complaint for recovery of the federal funds fraudulently obtained, and must avoid publicizing the claim of fraud until the U.S. Department of Justice decides whether to prosecute the claim itself. Such qui tam lawsuits must be filed under seal, using special procedures to keep the claim from becoming public until the federal government makes its decision on direct prosecution.
In bringing a qui tam action, it is vital to retain an experienced attorney to ensure you are following the proper procedure, and filing your complaint in accordance with the law. Once an individual files a complaint, that person becomes known as a “Relator,” meaning they have related to the U.S. Government that they have witnessed fraud.
Workplace abuse spanning more than a decade and failures to address it are among claims at the heart of a whistleblower lawsuit filed by a municipal light department employee against the agency’s long-serving manager Wayne Doerpholz, engineer Andy Orr, the department itself and the board of commissioners. The lawsuit was filed in U.S. District Court on Read More »...