AT BROWN, LLC – WE PROTECT WHISTLEBLOWERS
Retaliation may occur when an employee files an SEC whistleblower action, qui tam or false claims act (FCA) lawsuit if and when the employer becomes aware of the qui tam lawsuit. The employer may try to retaliate against the employee by demoting them, changing their work, or ultimately firing them.
There are various state and federal laws that protect whistleblowers, but whether or not you are entitled to whistleblower protection may depend on certain factors like:
✓ Whether you blew the whistle the right way
✓ Whether the underlying False Claims Act (FCA) complaint was viable
✓ Whether the underlying SEC claim was viable
✓ Whether the underlying CFTC claim was viable
That is certain courts may hold that if the underlying whistleblower complaint was not viable, then the retaliation was permissible since the conduct did not fall into a protected activity, so it is important to understand the likelihood of success of your underlying whistleblower allegations.
If you believe you have a valid whistleblower claim which could emanate from your information regarding your employer committing:
✓ Medicare Fraud
✓ Medicaid Fraud
✓ SEC Violations Such as Inside Trading or Failure to Advance the Best Interests of the Client
✓ Any other multitude of ways in which people or the government are being cheated
You should consult with a qui tam lawyer and if you suspect there may be repercussions, then a Whistleblower Retaliation Lawyer to find out what your rights are.
The lawyers at Brown, LLC handle Qui Tam Retaliation Claims and other False Claims Act matters nationwide generally in conjunction with the underlying action. The firm is led by former FBI Special Agent Jason T. Brown and his qui tam team who have had amazing victories in the past. The firm is only paid if we win your case so Call us at 1 (877) 561-0000 for a free confidential consultation to learn more about your whistleblower rights.
QUI TAM RETALIATION
Protect Yourself from Whistleblower Retaliation: Know Your Rights – Protecting Whistleblowers
Each whistleblower statute has a mechanism that protects whistleblowers from retaliation. At Brown, LLC, we understand how important of a decision it is to ultimately blow the whistle, so we will go over with you your options, the timing of the whistleblower action and discuss with you potential retaliation you may encounter. Initially, lawsuits under the False Claims Act (FCA) are filed under seal, so it is unlikely your employer will know it is you who blew the whistle, since they may not even know for an extended period of time that they are under investigation. For SEC actions through a whistleblower lawyer there is a chance for the case to stay under seal from start to finish, so there’s a chance you can completely evade any actual or perceived repercussions of a qui tam lawsuit.
Since the period where the False Claims Act is being investigated by the government can be so prolonged often times, the relator may feel like they are being retaliated against as a result of the lawsuit, when in fact that would be impossible because the employer is unaware of the whistleblower action. Retaliation in a workplace could include a wide variety of job actions, such as demotion, discipline, firing, salary reduction, or job or shift reassignment. If any of these events occur in temporal proximity to the disclosure of the identity of the whistleblower, then there may be a strong inference that it is retaliatory, and the statutory remedies may kick in to protect the whistleblower, even if the underlying qui tam case fails.
WHISTLEBLOWER PROTECTION UNDER THE FALSE CLAIMS ACT
The False Claims Act provides relief from retaliatory actions against whistleblowers. Employee whistleblower protections stop employers from using the threat of retaliation to keep whistleblowers quiet and to assure whistleblowers that they are legally protected from retaliatory acts. Congress recognized that qui tam whistleblowers need job protection as they may lose their jobs, be demoted or be blackballed from working in their industry.
The False Claims Act provides protection to the employees, contractors and agents against employer retaliation. A successful prosecution or settlement under the False Claims Act provides for compensatory damages, civil penalties, and treble (triple) damages.
The good news is, although False Claims Act retaliations are often brought as part of a Qui Tam action, it is also possible to bring a retaliation claim independent of a Qui Tam lawsuit.
SEC WHISTLEBLOWER PROTECTION – STRONG CONFIDENTIALITY PROVISIONS OF THE DODD-FRANK ACT
The Dodd-Frank Act creates an incentive program administered by the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) that rewards and protects any person who wants to blow the whistle on individuals or companies and reports possible violations of federal securities laws by public companies.
To further protect whistleblowers from employer retaliation, they have the option to make disclosures anonymously through an attorney, and the SEC takes steps to protect the confidentiality of whistleblower submissions.
For a non-anonymous SEC whistleblower action the company is strictly prohibited from engaging in retaliatory acts, but ironically under the latest standard advanced by the United States Supreme Court the company must know that the individual blew the whistle, so the anonymous whistleblower suspected of blowing the whistle may not have the same level of protection as a disclosed one in terms of retaliation, but has greater comfort knowing their identity is shielded.
Lately, The SEC has aggressively protected employees who sign employment and severance agreements that discourage or disrupt employees from contacting the SEC with whistleblowing concerns. Also if employers force employees and former employees to sign confidentiality agreements that prohibit contacting the SEC, it may be a violation of SEC rules.
CALIFORNIA WHISTLEBLOWER PROTECTION ACT
The California Whistleblower Protection Act includes an anti-retaliation provision that protects whistleblowers from retaliation by their employer in the California workplace.
Qui tam provision under the California False Claims Act allows a whistleblower to file a civil lawsuit in federal court against the employer and are entitled to seek his/her reinstatement with the same seniority status, two times the amount of back pay as well. After the case has been filed under the FCA, a notice is provided to the State or political subdivision and then the State may investigate the claims within a specific period of time.
In addition, a whistleblower has the right to receive compensation for lost wages and benefits, litigation costs, attorney fees, damages for emotional distress, and other punitive damages.
Consulting with a Whistleblower Lawyer
If you suspect retaliation from your employer as a result of you complaining about an illegal or unethical practice or are thinking you want to file a Qui Tam Lawsuit against your employer you should consult with a whistleblower lawyer that can discuss with you the ways to prove the link between your complaint and the employer’s retaliatory behavior.
An experience whistleblower law firm can tell you how strong your case is, what compensation you are likely to recover, if any, and other important information. To learn more, contact us for a free and confidential whistleblower consultation to know your whistleblower rights and how you can best invoke them or whether to invoke them at all.
Brown, LLC is led by former FBI Special Agent Jason T. Brown. We’ve recovered millions upon millions for our clients and for the government via the various qui tam and whistleblower awards. Brown, LLC handles cases nationwide and you only owe the firm if we win your case. Call us 24/7 at 1 (877) 561-0000 for a free, confidential consultation with our whistleblower retaliation lawyers.