Do You Need a Whistleblower Rewards Attorney?
- Have you discovered illegal activity at your company?
- Has your employer punished you because you reported this wrongdoing — or just raised concerns?
- Are your company’s executives cheating shareholders through fake accounting?
- Or cheating the U.S. government via double-billing, over-charging, or improper billing or coding?
- Do you know of bribes being paid to foreign officials by US companies?
- Is your career now on the line — because you had the guts to blow the whistle?
You shouldn’t be punished for doing what is right. This is the law in many cases. For a century and half, Congress has offered certain whistleblowers both legal protection and monetary rewards — and lately it has expanded the incentives to report many types of wrongdoing.
The Employment Law Group® law firm knows these laws inside-out. We have deep experience protecting whistleblowers across a wide range of industries. We have helped courageous employees to get their jobs back after being fired — and to collect both rewards and damages.
Many whistleblowers may claim rewards; we’ve helped many people do that, too. Our attorneys helped to obtain a $57.75 million settlement on behalf of a corporate whistleblower; an $819,000 verdict for a researcher who reported the misuse of government grants; a $650,000 jury verdict for a woman who was punished after reporting gender discrimination at her workplace; and a $282,000 jury verdict for a university official who opposed fraud.
Lawyer Monthly magazine named us Labor & Employment Law Firm of the Year three times running; we’re on U.S. News & World Report‘s list of the Best Law Firms. As a smaller firm we pick and choose our clients — but in return we offer each client personal attention from top-flight lawyers. All of our principal attorneys were honored by Super Lawyers in 2014; individual lawyers have been rated as the best in DC (Washingtonian magazine), selected to attend the prestigious Trial Lawyers College, and called both “superb” (Avvo.com) and “preeminent” (Martindale-Hubbell).
What else should you know? Well, The Employment Law Group is dedicated to representing employees like you. We don’t take corporations as clients. We are employee champions, 100 percent on the side of the angels.
Our most crucial advice, furthermore, we give for free: Watch the clock. A wide range of whistleblower laws may protect you — whether you’re a hospital technician or a nuclear engineer, a truck driver or a government statistician — but all of these statutes have strict filing deadlines, some of them quite short. Wait too long to understand your rights, and you may lose them.
Whistleblower and Qui Tam Laws Explained
Whistleblowers are those individuals who come forward to disclose critical information about wrongdoings and misdemeanors. It was in 1863 that the first law to protect whistleblowers came into being through the False Claims Act. Under this Act, whistleblowers may receive rewards for exposing wrongdoings in the form of a percentage of the total sum recovered through their efforts. In 2006, a new whistleblower law was enacted to enable individuals to expose tax frauds including underpayments and other violations of the internal revenue law.
The whistleblower stands to get between 15% to 25% of the total sum recovered by the government as reward for his/ her efforts in cases where the government joins in. When the whistleblower decides to sue after the government has declined to participate, he/ she may be entitled to rewards of 25% to 30% of the recovered sum.
Both the Federal government and State governments maintain whistleblower reward programs to ensure that fraud can be detected early and deterred as well. A recent Forbes.com report highlighted the efficacy of whistleblower laws and protection for these individuals. The report discussed how healthcare whistleblowers have been responsible for the recovery of nearly $20 billion over a five year period. The article also quoted from another report to say that every dollar spent by the government on pursuing whistleblower cases ultimately helps recover $20.
Clearly, the whistleblower law/ whistleblower protection is functioning very effectively as a fraud detection mechanism for the U.S. government. One key point to note here is that many of these frauds that are uncovered by whistleblowers would not have been detected by the government, but for the exposure through these individuals.
Purpose of Whistleblower Laws
Typically, whistleblowers are employees of a business or entity who are witness to violations within the organization. External whistleblowers report misconduct or fraud to outside entities such as the media, the law enforcement agencies or watchdog agencies. Whistleblower laws came into being to support the efforts of such individuals in bringing these violations to light.
Evidently, the whistleblower stands the risk of coming under some heavy pressure, as well as strong retaliation from the persons/ entities who stand accused of the misdemeanors. For instance, if an individual has exposed violations carried out at his workplace, his employer may retaliate by firing him with immediate effect. This kind of retaliatory action could be a huge deterrent to people desirous of exposing fraud/ violation. To ensure that no harm comes to the whistleblower and that he/ she does not face any loss from exposing violations/ fraud the law offers complete protection to the individual in such cases.
Frauds Exposed Under Whistleblower Law
A general rule of thumb is that any fraud that impacts federal or state monies or is a violation of any federal/ state regulation can be exposed under whistleblower law. Whistleblower attorneys represent their clients, as well as the government in such actions. Federal False Claims Act covers actions that aim at recovering defrauded federal dollars, while state statutes enable recovery of state / municipal funds that have been misappropriated.
The most common types of fraud uncovered by whistleblowers include education fraud, pharmaceutical fraud, Medicare/ Medicaid fraud, government contract fraud, defense contractor fraud and fraudulent grants/ loans.
Securities fraud exposure is also covered under whistleblower law. Individuals who have uncovered or witnessed securities and commodities law violations and frauds can bring it to light under the new provisions of the SEC whistleblower reward program.
Federal and State Stances on Whistleblower Rewards and Protection
The federal laws contained within the False Claims Act may not exactly be duplicated by State governments. Furthermore, the law, as well as the degree of protection granted to whistleblowers may differ from state to state. For example, in Florida, the state laws (citation §448.102) covers public and private employers and public employers cannot discharge from duty, take disciplinary action against or subject to adverse personnel action any employee who is or intends to become a whistleblower. In Colorado, state employees are given whistleblower protection. In Nebraska, private employers, state employees, and unions are covered under the whistleblower law. These variations in legal outlook make it necessary for a whistleblower to hire a competent and highly experienced whistleblower law firm to represent him/ her.
Importance of Hiring a Competent Whistleblower Reward Attorney
The success of the whistleblower’s action, as well as the protection of his/ her rights, depends heavily on the expertise of the whistleblower law firm fighting the case. The law is very complex in this regard; interpreting it correctly and laying out the aspects that support the whistleblower’s claim for rewards require the skills of experienced whistleblower attorneys.
Often these cases may take substantial time to come to a conclusion. Only a whistleblower law firm with adequate resources and qualified staff can sustain the pace throughout the investigation process and trial to garner the maximum possible reward for the whistleblower. In addition, the whistleblower law firm or the specific whistleblower attorneys working with the plaintiff should have sufficient experience working with the Department of Justice. The success rate of any whistleblower action is substantially greater if the government intervenes or joins in. In order to encourage the government to give priority to the action, the whistleblower attorneys should be able to make an impressive oral and written presentation of why their client’s case should receive government intervention and support. Again, this too requires the skills of an attorney who has handled several false claims and whistleblower cases.
Partnering with a whistleblower law firm that has a sufficient number of skilled attorneys to handle the various aspects of the case is in the best interests of the whistleblower. This ensures that the case is presented effectively, no matter how long it takes for the final judgment to be declared.
If you’d like to consult with our attorneys, please contact us. To each consultation client we offer the following:
- A sympathetic ear
- A serious consideration of the facts
- A deep understanding of the law
- A clear-eyed assessment of your claims
If we can help you, we will propose some next steps. If not, we will point you in a better direction.
As a whistleblower, you have legal rights. Let our firm’s experience guide you: We have asserted these rights on behalf of many employees before you — in many cases, employees who already had been punished, demoted, or fired by their company.
Call or e-mail us and get the process started. You are standing up for justice. You need someone who’ll stand behind you.
It was very pleasurable to work with Mr. Scott and his team. His communication on my case was outstanding. The team informs you of every step they take -- and will be making. The best part is that they are very confident in what they do. Every single person in the team can tell you exactly what the progress of the case is.
November 15, 2012
TELG attorneys mentioned: R. Scott Oswald (Managing Principal)
Area of Law: General employment