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Last year the Department of Justice (DOJ) recovered more than $2.2 billion from cases regarding fraud and false claims against the government. Since the False Claims Act was established and revised, more than $64 billion has been recovered overall. Whistleblowers, often anonymous or unrecognized, played a notable role in exposing the misconduct. By holding individuals, officials, and employers to a high standard, the DOJ continued investigating and litigating throughout the pandemic.
Although whistleblowers provided a “vital service” at the time, not everyone favored their actions. Employers especially resort to forms of retaliation against individuals that come forward against them or the company. Fortunately, Los Angeles workplace lawyers can defend, and state and federal laws get enforced to protect and punish those who try seeking revenge.
What Actions Trigger Whistleblower Retaliation?
The legal definition of retaliation is the punishment of an employee by an employer for engaging in any protected activity (legally). Issuing a complaint of harassment, unlawful acts, or taking part in workplace investigations is well within your rights. Although retaliation looks different for everyone, a few examples are:
- Wage and hour disputes
- Demotions or reassignment
- Denied time off or family medical leave
- Wrongful termination
- Other unwarranted limitations
As a whistleblower, it is common to feel hesitant to speak up. A lot is on the line. Your employer specifically will feel targeted, presuming it is a breach of trust. As a result, retaliation has turned into a frequent and common concern.
Before helping you file a whistleblower complaint, an LA-based employment lawyer would assess your case to determine which laws can offer you protection. Some statutes pertain to federal employee whistleblowers, whereas others safeguard others that blow the whistle on wrongdoings. Read on for a brief description of two policies most cases include.
False Claims Act
Many whistleblowers are aware of popular policies like The False Claims Act (FCA). It encourages workers to report their employers for fraud against the government. Per the FCA, protection would cover anyone that comes forward with any evidence of deception. Additionally, a qui tam provision prohibits employers from retaliating or pursuing a lawsuit if the government chooses to act later on. If your lawyer for whistleblower retaliation in LA can prove that you got retaliated against, you can receive:
- A financial award + doubled back pay
- Special damages (pain and suffering)
- Get reinstated to the previous role, or position
Whistleblower Protection Act
This Act improved protections to preserve the rights of federal employees that report misconduct within the government by prohibiting officials from taking “adverse personnel actions.” Federal employees can report occurrences of:
- Significant waste of funds
- Abuse of authority
- Unlawful activity
Should you need to report retaliation, file a claim to the Office of Special Counsel. After an investigation, you can claim the same damages previously listed (FCA), as well as legal fees if you retained an experienced whistleblower retaliation lawyer in Los Angeles.
Statutes of Federal Whistleblower Protection
Several laws regulate activity allowing employees to report law violations without fear of losing their job. Two other whistleblower protection laws are:
- Clean Air Act – issues protection for claims against air emission violations
- Sarbanes-Oxley Act – protection provided for reporting securities fraud or related misconduct.
Employees have a limited window to submit a retaliation claim if an employer acts against them. In California, a complaint must get filed within two to three years of the violation; it depends on the conditions of your case. Before you blow the whistle, pursue legal advice from a whistleblower lawyer in LA first. We can defend and preserve your legal rights as a public or private employee.
The Future of Whistleblower Retaliation Law
Whistleblower protections are everchanging. Lawmakers introduce and enforce new legislation that precedes previous existing laws. The Dodd-Frank Act, for example, expanded whistleblowing protections that are included now in the Sarbanes-Oxley Act. Additionally, the Whistleblower Protection Enhancement Act improved protections found in the original whistleblower legal policy.
Many whistleblowers still believe that the protections should get expanded to protect federal contractors and individuals working at intelligence agencies. So far, the future of whistleblowing looks promising as each administration sought to improve pre-existing conditions.
Avoid Whistleblowing Until You Consult with A Legal Professional
Deciding to come forward and shed light on unethical behavior or illegal activity should not be taken lightly. You are doing what most workers can’t, and that does not go unnoticed at our firm. Although there are so many prominent anti-retaliation laws in place that offer protection, it can be challenging to figure out which one applies to your circumstance, understanding what needs to get proven in court, and how long you have to file a claim. A whistleblower lawyer in Southern California can help give you peace of mind regarding your decision. Additionally, if you need to pursue a lawsuit against your employer down the road for discrimination, harassment, or other disputes, we can proceed accordingly.
About Mann & Elias
The Law Offices of Mann & Elias is an employment law firm that provides guidance and legal support for individuals facing issues in the workplace. We represent clients at every level of the state and federal court systems in lawsuits regarding discrimination, wrongful termination, unpaid wages, and more. When your case is in our hands, we hope to minimize stress and concerns associated with work.
Workplace disputes and negotiations can be complicated and uncomfortable between an employee and employer. In many cases, an employer can retaliate, causing individuals to feel disadvantaged in the company. When you retain one of our lawyers, you will be well-protected and advised. While there are thousands of lawyers to choose from, we believe our success is rooted in:
- 50+ years of trial experience
- Excellent advocacy skills
- Intense preparation and research
- Quality care
Since our partnership began over 20 years ago, we have settled hundreds of claims, completed 100 jury and bench trials, and recovered more than $18 million in settlements. In the end, our goal is to understand what you need and achieve the best outcome for you by focusing on those needs. For dedicated representation with no upfront fees, give us a call at 323-866-9564 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.