What Damages are Available in Whistleblower Retaliation Lawsuits?

aidan-bartos-313782-copy-300x200The Whistleblower Protection Act and the California False Claims Act both protect whistleblowers from retaliating employers after they report wrongdoing. Unfortunately, not all employers abide by this law. When they learn an employee has blown the whistle on them, they sometimes terminate that employee. The employee loses his or her income and soon falls upon financial hardship. When this happens, it is important that employees understand they can file a whistleblower retaliation lawsuit against their employee to recover damages. So, what damages are available in a whistleblower retaliation lawsuit? A San Francisco whistleblower lawyer can fully evaluate your claim, but there are three types of damages most common in retaliation lawsuits. 

Back Pay Damages

Back pay provides compensation for any financial losses the employee sustained as a result of the retaliatory action. These damages often include wages, promotions, stock options, vacation pay, and other benefits. The False Claims Act states that employees who are retaliated against are entitled to twice the amount of back pay they have lost. 

Prejudgement interest is also applied to the total amount of back pay. Interest is added every day from the time the retaliatory action is taken, to just before the judge issues a judgement. 

Front Pay in Lieu of Reinstatement Damages

The preferred remedy in any whistleblower retaliation case is reinstatement of the whistleblower’s previous position. However, this is often not possible. Animosity between the whistleblower and his or her former employer is typically high by the time the case gets to a retaliation lawsuit. 

Front pay damages are designed to compensate for the fact the whistleblower cannot return to his or her job. It is meant to provide financial relief until the whistleblower can find employment with a similar salary and benefits. 

If a whistleblower can prove they intended to remain at the same place of employment until they retired, the employer can be held liable for paying compensation to the time of retirement. To claim this amount of damages, the employee must also show they have tried to find comparable employment to mitigate damages. A whistleblower attorney in San Francisco can help.

Special Damages

Sometimes, the retaliatory actions of an employer causes an employee to lose more than their job. Sometimes they are embarrassed, have suffered mentally and emotionally, and their reputation has been damaged. In these cases, a whistleblower retaliation lawsuit can also claim special damages. 

These damages include emotional distress, mental anguish, humiliation, and injury to reputation. When injury to reputation is claimed, employees can hold employers liable for paying compensation for loss of earning capacity, as they may no longer be able to work in the same industry.

A plaintiff’s testimony is typically enough to support a claim for special damages. However, the employee must show substantial evidence of emotional distress, adequately explain the injury, and the testimony must be genuine. 

Did Your Employer Retaliate After You Blew the Whistle? Call Our San Francisco Whistleblower Lawyer

If you blew the whistle at your workplace and your employer took retaliatory action, do not file a lawsuit on your own. At Willoughby Brod, LLP, our whistleblower attorneys in San Francisco want to help. Call us today at (800) 427-7020 or contact us online for your free consultation to learn about your legal options. 

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