Articles Tagged with san francisco whistleblower attorney

rene-bohmer-430927-unsplash-copy-200x300There are many programs and legal statutes that allow whistleblowers to receive compensation for reporting wrongdoing, typically in their place of work. The False Claims Act is just one of these. However, whistleblowers do not typically blow the whistle to receive this compensation. In fact, many are not even aware that they are eligible for it at the time they report the wrongdoing. So, why do whistleblowers blow the whistle?

Moral Obligation

Of course, the main reason whistleblowers report wrongdoing is because they know they have a moral obligation to do so. It is incredibly difficult to go into a workplace every day, see unethical practices happening, and do nothing about it. Many whistleblowers simply cannot live with the guilt of knowing the government is being defrauded and continue to let it happen. After blowing the whistle, whistleblowers typically feel a sense of peace knowing they have done the right thing. 

samson-duborg-rankin-91091-unsplash-copy-300x200When filing any type of lawsuit, you will need solid evidence to back up your claim. In a qui tam, or whistleblower, lawsuit, that evidence must be solid and clearly establish that your employer, or another individual or entity, defrauded the government. Investigations into a qui tam lawsuit are extensive and take a great deal of time and resources. The courts will likely not move ahead with one unless there is substantial evidence of wrongdoing.

When gathering this evidence, whistleblowers will run into three types — evidence you have, evidence you do not have but can obtain, and evidence that you cannot obtain. Each of these categories of evidence presents its own issues.

Evidence You Have

igor-ovsyannykov-252342-unsplash-copy-300x200The Occupational Safety and Health Act was passed in 1970 and created the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) to protect employees from dangerous working conditions and to standardize workplace safety. Over the years, it has been amended many times and now includes provisions that protect employees from retaliation from their employers when they either report injuries under the OSHA reporting requirements or if they file a complaint against their employer for a violation of OSHA standards. Many states have a state version of OSHA and, in the case of California, have state laws that prohibit retaliation against whistleblowers, as well.

What Conduct is Prohibited by Federal OSHA Whistleblower Laws?

Simply put, an employee is protected from “adverse actions” if they avail themselves of the rights guaranteed by OSHA. Adverse actions can include:

chris-greenhow-662446-unsplash-copy-300x225While whistleblowers sometimes get a bad rap as “snitches,”the opposite in fact is true. By revealing their employers’ illegal actions, whistleblowers help society in ways that only whistleblowers can. If you have any doubts about whether you should blow the whistle on your employer’s illegal actions, contact the whistleblower attorneys at Willoughby Brod today to learn more about the ways in which whistleblowers help society and the ways in which you can contribute to that cause.

  1. Whistleblowers help citizens save money.

From 1986-2016, recoveries made from whistleblower cases under the False Claims Act alone totaled over $28 billion. That is $28 billion that could have ended up in the hands of fraudsters rather than back in citizens’ pockets. By blowing the whistle on fraudulent acts, whistleblowers not only protect those who are directly harmed by the fraud but also send a message to fraudsters that the actions they wish to engage in are unacceptable and will not go undetected.

rene-bohmer-430927-unsplash-copy-200x300One common concern that holds people back from becoming whistleblowers is the fear that they will face discipline for being involved in the same fraud they are now reporting. Sometimes employees feel coerced by their employer into partaking in fraudulent actions, and other times the employee may have been the one to spearhead the fraud. In both cases, if you have had a change of heart, and not only do you no longer wish to participate in the fraud, but you want to put an end to it altogether, contact the qui tam attorneys at Willoughby Brod today to learn more about what steps you should take next.

When You Participated in the Fraud but Did Not Spearhead it

Both the False Claims Act (FCA) and the California False Claims Act (CFCA) want to afford whistleblowers the maximum protection possible so as not to deter people from coming forth as a whistleblower. Therefore, in most circumstances, a whistleblower who partook in the fraudulent act they are now reporting will not face any penalties for participating in the fraud.

benjamin-child-90768-300x200Reporting your boss for engaging in unlawful conduct at work not only requires courage but also thick skin. While some will undoubtedly tout you as a hero as soon as you blow the whistle, others may not be as friendly or supportive. You should prepare yourself for the worst, from your employer as well as from the public, should you decide to blow the whistle on your employer. Despite the risks of whistleblowing outlined below, however, remember that you are contributing to justice and ultimately contributing positively to society when you report illegal conduct. If you are unsure, nervous, or scared about how best to proceed, speak with one of the lawyers at Willoughby Brod, and they will be able to help you decide what is best for you.

Employer Retaliation

The biggest risk of whistleblowing is employer retaliation. California law prohibits any form of employer retaliation toward whistleblowers, but many employers try to do it anyway. Many think that if they do it in subtle ways, like slowly pushing the employee out of their role or finding another reason to demote them or decrease their pay, that there will be no consequences to them. From an even less straightforward angle, employers and fellow employees may start to become hostile toward the employee, spreading rumors about the employee, scheduling meetings only when the employee is unavailable, or ignoring the employee in social settings. However, this type of behavior is illegal. If you have been retaliated against by your employer, contact our attorneys immediately so that we can help you fight for your rights.

benjamin-child-17946-copy-300x200You blew the whistle on your employer’s illegal actions, and now your employer is retaliating against you. This is not an unusual situation, but it is an illegal one. Both federal law and California law protect whistleblower employees from employer retaliation and impose large fines on employers who choose to ignore this law. If you have been retaliated against at work for whistleblowing, you may be wondering what you can do to remedy this situation. Contact the attorneys at Willoughby Brod today to have your case reviewed for free and receive actionable next steps for what you can do in this situation.

Make Sure Your Whistleblower Actions are Protected in California

California offers general whistleblower protections that protect whistleblowers from being retaliated against by their employers for disclosing or refusing to participate in suspected illegal activities, but it also offers whistleblower protections in the following specific circumstances:

When someone identifies an act of health care fraud, it is important that they speak up. However, under the False Claims Act (FCA) the ways in which they speak up are limited by Federal law. A recent Supreme Court ruling on qui tam lawsuits arising under the FCA will have broad implications for whistleblowers.

The Background

According to the LII Supreme Court Bulletin, Benjamin Carter first filed a qui tam suit against Kellogg Brown & Root Services, Inc. (KBR) in 2006. His lawsuit alleged that KBR had fraudulently billed the United States government for water purification services that were either performed improperly or not performed at all. The District Court dismissed the complaint based on the first-to-file rule which states that when a private person brings a qui tam lawsuit under the FCA, no person can bring a related action based on the same underlying facts. In this case, Mr. Carter’s complaint was dismissed because there was a pending case with similar claims that had been filed earlier. While Mr. Carter appealed, the pending case was dismissed. Mr. Carter filed a new lawsuit, which was also dismissed for the same reason – the pending case was now pending on appeal.supreme court