Do You Need a DC Whistleblower Lawyer?
Have you been the victim of whistleblower retaliation by your employer because you reported fraud or wrongdoing?
- Do you need to protect your career because you reported your employer’s illegal or unethical conduct?
- Did you object to criminal conduct or refuse to help your employer commit a crime?
- Are your reputation and financial stability on the line because you did the right thing and spoke out?
Federal and DC whistleblower law protects whistleblowers in Washington, D.C. from retaliation. For example, the D.C. Whistleblower Protection Act forbids a supervisor from retaliating or threatening to retaliate against a government employee because of the employee’s protected disclosure or refusal to comply with an illegal order. The Employees of District Contractors and Instrumentality Whistleblower Protection Act of 1998 extends similar protections to District contractors and “instrumentalities” such as Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA), the District of Columbia Water and Sewer Authority, and the Washington Convention Center Authority. Chances are that if you were fired illegally in District, there is a law to get your job back.
The attorneys at The Employment Law Group® law firm are experienced in representing employees in administrative, District, and federal court hearings. We have represented clients ranging from warehouse workers and secretaries to CEOs and the heads of federal agencies.
The Employment Law Group® law firm secured a $282,000 jury verdict under the District of Columbia Whistleblower Protection Act against a local university and a $466,000 judgment against the National Transportation Safety Board for violating the Equal Pay Act. Our attorneys also:
- Represented a client whose allegations that corporations defrauded the federal government resulted in a $57.75 Million False Claims Act settlement agreement.
- Secured a $3.6 million judgment against a defense contractor under the False Claims Act’s qui tam provision.
- Worked with the United States government to secure a $2.8 million settlement in a case involving allegations of healthcare fraud.
Obtained an $819,000 jury verdict in a False Claims Act retaliation case on behalf of a scientist whose contract wasn’t renewed after he raised questions about possible misuse of federal research grants.
Important statutes in this area of law:
Filing of confidential declarations by private persons; contents of Declarations; invalid Declarations
Liability for false claims; qui tam provision; anti-retaliation provision
Commodity whistleblower incentives and protection ; securities whistleblower incentives and protection ; civil action to protect against retaliation in fraud cases
Employee Protections; claims handling by the Office of Special Counsel
Notable TELG cases in this area of law:
The United States Court of Federal Claims awarded TELG client Marjorie Murtagh Cooke over $460,000 after finding that her employer, the National Transportation Safety Board, violated the Equal Pay Act.
The Employment Law Group worked with the United States government to secure a $2.8 million settlement in a case involving allegations of healthcare fraud.
TELG Client Jon Oberg discovered that student lender Nelnet received improperly high payments on student loans. TELG filed a qui tam action under the false claims act and Nelnet eventually settled for $55 million.
The Employment Law Group, PC, secured a $3.6 million judgment against a defense contractor under the False Claims Act’s qui tam provision.
The Employment Law Group, P.C., secured an $819,000 jury verdict against the University of Virginia in a retaliation case brought under the False Claims Act.
Generally, whistleblower laws are intended to make whistleblowers whole. If you have suffered illegal retaliation, you may be entitled to reinstatement in your job; back pay for lost wages; front pay for future lost wages; litigation costs and attorney fees; and other compensatory damages.
As with all legal claims, deadlines are crucial. The deadlines to bring whistleblower claims in the District of Columbia can vary greatly depending on the law that is being applied. All of these laws have strict filing deadlines, some of them as short as 30 days for federal employees.
Frequently Asked Questions
What DC whistleblower law protects those employed by Government Agencies or Contractors?
The D.C. Whistleblower Protection Act (WPA) and its companion law, the Employees of District Contractors and Instrumentality Whistleblower Protection Act of 1998, forbid a supervisor from retaliating or threatening to retaliate against an employee of the D.C. government or an employee of a D.C. government contractor because of the employee’s protected disclosure or refusal to comply with an illegal order.
What activities are protected?
For employees in the public sector, “protected disclosure” means any disclosure of information not specifically prohibited by statute, by any employee to a supervisor or a public body that the employee reasonably believes evidences:
- Gross mismanagement;
- Gross misuse or waste of public resources or funds;
- Abuse of authority in connection with the administration of a public program or the execution of a public contract;
- A violation of any federal, state, or local law, rule, or regulation;
- A violation of any significant contractual terms between the District government and a District government contractor; or
- A substantial and specific danger to the public health, safety, or protection of the environment.
What are the District Employee’s rights under the WPA?
District employees have the right to:
- Freely express opinions on public issues;
- Communicate with members of D.C. Council;
- Assemble in public places to discuss matters of personal and public interest;
- Humane, dignified, and reasonable conditions of employment; and
- Individual privacy.
What are the responsibilities of District Employees, Supervisors, and Agencies under the WPA?
Supervisors and employees are obligated to disclose illegal activity as soon as they become aware of such activity. If a supervisor fails to disclose such activity, the supervisor will be subject to disciplinary action. Additionally, if a supervisor retaliates against an employee because an employee engaged in protected conduct, the agency must take disciplinary action against the supervisor.
What should I do if I am thinking about blowing the whistle or believe I have been retaliated against?
Keep a detailed log of your employer’s actions and statements relating to any kind of retaliation, and contact the employment attorneys at The Employment Law Group® law firm at 1-866-721-3781 or [email protected] to discuss your potential claim.
Which provision of the DC FCA protects whistleblowers?
The DC FCA includes an anti-retaliation provision that protects whistleblowers from retaliation by their employer. The primary elements of whistleblower retaliation are:
- Employer-Employee Relationship. The plaintiff was an employee of the employer;
- Adverse Employment Action. The plaintiff was fired or experienced another form of adverse employment action; and
- Protected Conduct. The employee’s protected conduct was a substantial factor in the employer’s decision to take the adverse employment action.
What compensation can a prevailing employee recover under the DC FCA?
A whistleblower may be rewarded up to 40% of the proceeds recovered under the DC FCA. Additionally, a whistleblower is entitled to reinstatement, compensation for lost wages and benefits with interest, litigation costs, reasonable attorney’s fees, and punitive damages.
What actions by the employer constitute an adverse employment action?
Termination, demotion, suspension, threats, or any other form of discrimination against an employee in the terms and conditions of employment is an adverse employment action.
What kind of employee conduct is protected under the DC FCA?
Protected conduct includes:
- Investigating, initiating, testifying for, or assisting in a DC FCA action;
- Reporting illegal or fraudulent activity; or
- Refusing to participate in a scheme to defraud the District government