#NationalWhistleblowerDay just passed, so let’s talk about the importance of whistleblowers

What is a False Claim under the False Claim Act? Read moreBy Jay Holland, Joseph Greenwald & Laake

Whether in the news, on a TV show or even in your own workplace, you’ve probably heard about whistleblowing more than you think. Whistleblowing, or the act of informing on a person or organization engaged in an unethical or illegal activity, is a tricky subject. While some may think that whistleblowers are simply “tattlers,” other people may see it as a bold act of holding a person or company accountable.

July 30 marked the third annual National Whistleblower Day, which celebrates and honors whistleblowers across the country. The day provides a platform to discuss why whistleblowers are so important, and why we need them to right wrongs and shed light on injustices within the workplace.

Whistleblowers give valuable information from the inside that helps to hold corporations and other organizations accountable for their actions. In fact, the majority of corporate fraud is reported by whistleblowers, according to the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners. This reporting can save taxpayers billions of dollars each year, as False Claims Act recoveries add up to over $28 billion since 1986.

If you believe you potentially have a whistleblower case, it is imperative that you reach out to an experienced whistleblower attorney for assistance. According to Taxpayers Against Fraud (TAF), the government is less likely to consider your case over the many others it receives if you do not present a well-framed legal and factual case. That’s why a whistleblower attorney can help you to organize yourself in order to properly file and present your case.

Now that National Whistleblower Day has passed, take time to understand exactly why whistleblowers are so imperative to businesses across the country. Without whistleblowers, we would lose a vast population of those willing to hold each other accountable for the betterment of company ethics.

Preventing Age Discrimination in the Workplace

By Jay Holland, Joseph Greenwald & Laake

Age Discrimination Act While older employees are protected by law from age discrimination, it still exists as a serious issue within many companies. Therefore, it is important to recognize the options you have when filing a complaint against any form of age discrimination you may face.

The Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA) protects employees over 40 years old from discrimination in the workplace. The ADEA requires that employers cannot show preference for certain ages in job advertisements, set age limits for programs, or retaliate against filed claims of discrimination. Also, employers may not force their employees to retire at a certain age.

If you feel that you have experienced age discrimination in your workplace, you may file a discrimination lawsuit. It can be complex, but with an experienced employment lawyer, you can achieve the best results.

First, you must file a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), which will investigate your claim. If you meet the claim requirements, you can move to file your complaint in court, after which both parties will request documents, take statements, and participate in any other discovery activity. Before a trial ensues, you will have the opportunity for mediation, but if both parties do not mediate, they will prepare for trial in court. As the chair of Joseph Greenwald & Laake’s Labor, Employment, and Qui Tam Whistleblower practice, I frequently lecture and write about labor, employment law and False Claims Act cases. I counsel clients in individual and class action cases involving gender and race discrimination and sexual harassment, violations of the wage and hour laws, and wrongful termination.

If you are experiencing age discrimination in your workplace, look for an experienced lawyer who can help in every aspect of your case.

Reporting fraud under the False Claims Act

What is a False Claim under the False Claim Act? Read moreReporting fraud under the False Claims Act

By Jay Holland, Joseph Greenwald & Laake

False Claims Act

Qui tam lawsuits provide a way for whistleblower protection under the False Claims Act, which rewards whistleblowers in cases where the government recuperates funds that have been lost in fraud.

The Department of Justice has successfully used the False Claims Act in order to target bad actors in the financial industry to recover misappropriated government funds. A majority of these cases involve financial institutions that do business in the home mortgage industry. They can also involve Medicare and Medicaid fraud, defense contractor fraud, and others.

False Claims Act Lawsuits

When the government brings a False Claims Act lawsuit, the suit will apply a civil penalty of anywhere between $5,500 and $11,000 for each false payment that the federal government makes, plus three times the amount of damages the government sustains because of the fraudulent claims for payment. Also, as the vast majority of these cases are brought by whistleblowers, called “relators,” under the statute, defendants are also liable for the attorney’s fees and costs incurred by relator’s counsel. Criminal penalties and liability are also possible. When fraud is in play, it may not be too far of a bridge to gap to hold individual bad actors criminally liable.

If you’re considering blowing the whistle, what does this mean for you?

As a private citizen, you may sue an individual or a business for fraud without this lawsuit being leaked to anyone else involved. This sealed lawsuit assures protection to the plaintiff in the cases. If the defendants are found liable, they must pay damages, which can be as much as three times the government’s losses, as well as penalties incurred.

Contact a Qui Tam or False Claims Act lawyer if you are considering blowing the whistle. It takes courage to be a whistleblower, especially when the wrongdoer is your employer. Having a strong advocate will make all the difference.

How to File a Whistleblower Complaint

Read more to learn hoe to file a whistleblower complantAre you considering filing a Whistleblower Complaint?

In general, employers are legally granted protection from workplace retaliation, meaning that an employer cannot take adverse action against workers for a number of reasons, including: firing or laying off, blacklisting, demoting, denial of benefits, making threats or reducing pay or hours.

Whistleblower Protection Act

Since 1989, the Whistleblower Protection Act has protected federal whistleblowers who report government agency misconduct. If an agency takes or threatens to take, retaliatory action against an employer, they have violated the Whistleblower Protection Act. If you believe that your employer has
violated the act, you have the right to speak with a qui tam attorney who can help you file a complaint against your employer.

Where to file your Whistleblower Complaint

You must file your complaint with the Occupational Safety and Health Administration up to 30 days after the reprisal. Under the OSH Act, employees may file complaints with both the state and federal OSHA. Complaints filed under any other whistleblower statute must be filed directly with the
Federal OSHA.

You can file your whistleblower complaint online, by fax/mail, or by telephone. The online Whistleblower Complaint Form will forward your complaint to appropriate state plan if it was submitted in a state with an OSHA-approved plan.

OSHA will conduct an interview with each complainant in order to determine the need for an investigation, and they will ask for the employee’s work and/or benefits to be restored should the evidence support the claim of discrimination.

Contact Holland Maloney Today

If you feel that your employer has violated your rights as an employee, speak to an experienced qui tam or whistleblower attorney who will assist you in the process of filing your complaint.