A major federal contractor has been accused of forcing employees to sign confidentiality statements that violate the False Claims Act. The whistleblower lawsuit was filed recently against Halliburton and its former subsidiary Kellogg Brown & Root. The complaint was filed with the Justice Department and the Securities and Exchange Commission. California employment attorneys remind the public that employers are not permitted to gag employees from reporting illegal or fraudulent behavior.
The lawsuit alleges that the federal contractor required employees to sign internal confidentiality statements that prevent them from speaking to anyone about their allegations. The confidentiality statement would thus prevent employees from reporting potential fraud to government investigators and prosecutors. Attorneys representing the whistleblower in the case stated that the statements violate the False Claims Act and other laws that were put in place to protect whistleblowers from retaliation. It was also alleged that the true purpose of the statements was to contain any factual adverse information and prevent those with firsthand knowledge from reporting fraudulent activity outside the company. California employment attorneys say that False Claims Act protections are important for shielding whistleblowers from retaliation.
According to an attorney for the contractor, the statements are designed to protect the integrity of the internal review process, and not to hide information. He claimed that the company received complaints that have no basis in reality and that the internal review process is supposed to prevent those unfounded complaints from being made public. He also stated that employees are encouraged to report allegations of wrongdoing. A spokesman for Halliburton stated that the litigation involves alleged activity at Kellogg Brown & Root, which is now a separate company from Halliburton. However, Halliburton owned Kellogg Brown & Root at the time of the alleged violations. California employment attorneys say that all companies are required to adhere to the False Claims Act.
According to attorneys working on the case, the confidentiality statement used by Kellogg Brown & Root is particularly bad because it threatens employees with termination from employment and other legal action if they come forward to speak out. The statements ban employees who wish to report fraud from discussing their allegations without authorization from company attorneys. The lawsuit alleges that the confidentiality statements were designed to intimidate employees who may have knowledge of fraudulent activities. Under the False Claims Act, employers are prohibited from retaliating against or threatening employees who reveal fraud in government contracts. Evans Law Firm, Inc. is not involved in this case, but will thoroughly investigate whistleblower claims.
Evans Law Firm, Inc. handles whistleblower/false claims, consumer fraud class actions, insurance and banking fraud, consumer product liability, elder abuse, and personal injury cases. If you think that you have witnessed or are the victim of financial fraud by an insurance company, bank or individual then, contact Evans Law Firm, Inc. at (415) 441-8669 for a free and confidential consultation, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.