Why Protecting Whistleblowers Pays Dividends
At a time when businesses and governments seem more eager than ever to cover up their wrongdoings, it’s worth asking what benefit there is in strong whistleblower protections. The benefit to the whistleblower is obvious: these protections enable them to act on their conscience when they see fraud or illegal activity on the job, with the knowledge they are safe from reprisal. However, promoting an environment where workers and contractors feel free to speak up also has benefits for companies and the federal government. Whistleblower protection laws can provide job protection, from retaliation, harassment, or termination, and whistleblower incentive laws can provide cash compensation for reporting some types of illegal activity to the government.
What Are Qui Tam Lawsuits?
Qui tam is a type of lawsuit where individuals essentially act as proxies for the government, recovering funds for the state and earning a portion of the money themselves. Since 1863, when the False Claims Act was first passed in an attempt to combat rampant fraud by suppliers to the Union Army, whistleblowers have helped the government recover untold billions, primarily in cases against military and healthcare contractors. In recent years qui tam cases have been largely against pharmaceutical and other medical companies, recouping Medicare and Medicaid expenses that are inflated or falsified by contractors. However, qui tam status extends to anyone whose suit helps protect the government from fraud, and has been used by whistleblowers in other fields.
What Protections Are Whistleblowers Afforded?
Similarly, the IRS pays bounties to people who provide credible information that helps the IRS to collect unpaid taxes, and the SEC pays bounties to whistleblowers who report securities fraud. Many laws (including qui tam laws) provide job protections for whistleblowers, including people who speak out about fraud, unfair business practices, discrimination, sexual harassment, and other illegal activity in and out of the workplace. Different whistleblower laws can prohibit wrongful termination, demotion, harassment, and other types of retaliation.
However, one weakness of these protections is their short shelf life: statutes of limitations often begin when adverse action is learned about, rather than carried out, and many whistleblowers end up left out of the defenses provided for them. There are literally dozens of state and federal whistleblower protection statutes, each with different rules. An experienced California IRS whistleblower attorney can help you to understand your rights under these statutes. The Evans Law Firm can provide a free consultation to people thinking about blowing the whistle, before or after they are retaliated against.
A Law Firm You Can Trust
If you believe that you have a qui tam case, or that your employer is wrongfully discriminating against you for blowing the whistle, contact the Evans Law Firm in San Francisco, which handles Qui Tam (whistleblower/false claims), IRS tax fraud lawsuits, securities fraud whistleblower reward lawsuits, retaliation and employment litigation as well as elder abuse (physical and financial), elder law and estate planning (including living trust and will packages, powers of attorney, probate matters, Medi-Cal planning, estate administration, trust administration, will and trust contests, specialized trusts including special needs trusts, and conservatorships), consumer fraud class actions involving particularly insurance and banking fraud claims, consumer product liability and personal injury/wrongful death cases, asbestos-mesothelioma, pharmaceutical product liability, negligence personal injury claims.