Whistleblowers have played pivotal roles in American business and government history over the past several decades. A “whistleblower” is any individual who comes forward in good faith with their knowledge of illegal, corrupt, and unethical behavior within their place of employment. Whistleblowers have reported abuses of power, regulatory violations, and human resource scandals across the country, leading to sweeping changes that have improved employees’ lives and working conditions in many industries.
When a whistleblower comes forward in good faith to report misconduct to an oversight authority, they are legally protected from job-related reprisals from their employer. In other words, any form of retaliation against a whistleblower can lead to severe penalties, but affected whistleblowers are likely to require legal counsel if they hope to hold their employers accountable. They will also need guidance to successfully navigate the reporting process, ensuring the appropriate authorities receive the information they possess.
Similarly, a Qui Tam action is a whistleblower report filed under the False Claims Act, essentially positioning the whistleblower as taking legal action on behalf of the government. When a whistleblower files a report against any business entity for violation of government regulations, failure to abide by public policies, or fraud, they could still face retaliation from their employer. The right attorney can not only help them address any retaliation they face but also potentially help them secure compensation for their report.
Ultimately, acting as a whistleblower in any capacity can be very daunting. It’s natural to fear for the future of your career and your reputation, and navigating the legal proceedings you are likely to face following your report can be incredibly stressful without legal counsel on your side. The Azadian Law Group, PC, is a team of experienced employment attorneys who offer client-focused and responsive legal representation to San Bernardino, CA, whistleblowers who are unsure how to proceed with their reports. Our goal is to help you understand your legal options, the protections available to you, and your options for resolving any injury you have sustained, and then guide you to a positive outcome to your case.
The whistleblower laws of the United States are designed to encourage anyone with information about business malfeasance, fraud, corruption, or unethical behavior of any kind to come forward with what they know to the appropriate authorities. A whistleblower report, filed correctly and substantiated with relevant evidence, can potentially shape new laws affecting California businesses. Whistleblower reports can also expose mistreatment of employees and business malpractice of all kinds. Anyone with knowledge of what amounts to whistleblowing has various legal protections they should understand at the outset of their case.
It is unlawful for an employer to retaliate against an employee for filing a whistleblower report in good faith, even if the report pertains to the employer’s behavior and could lead to penalties. “Good faith” is an important determining factor in these cases. The whistleblower cannot file their report in the hope of a reward or to inflict reputational damage or economic harm on the subject of their report. While some whistleblowers receive monetary awards in response to some of their reports, this cannot be the main driving force behind the report. The whistleblower needs to be able to demonstrate their genuine concern over the issue in question to legitimize their report and receive full protection from the whistleblower defense laws of the United States.
A whistleblower report can arise whenever a private business or entity commits fraud, misconduct, or malpractice. A whistleblower dispute can arise when a whistleblower is illegally penalized for a report they have filed in good faith or when the subject of the report disputes the basis of the whistleblower’s claims. Many of the whistleblower reports filed in the United States pertain to issues such as:
Ultimately, if you believe your employer has broken the law in any way, violated your rights or the rights of your co-workers, or engaged in willful violation of applicable government regulations, you have the right to report the issue to the appropriate authorities without fear of losing your job or facing other punitive actions from your employer.
Whistleblower retaliation occurs when an employer takes punitive action against an employee because of a whistleblower report the employee filed. Of course, this would be wrongful termination, and it’s natural for anyone subjected to this kind of treatment to have lots of legal questions regarding their right to hold their employer accountable. Some of the most commonly reported forms of whistleblower retaliation in California include:
Many whistleblowers will face protracted harassment and undue mistreatment from their employers in response to their reports, often culminating with termination. An employer will likely use California’s at-will employment law to justify firing a whistleblower. Still, a good attorney will be able to call their timing into question and prove the termination was wrongful. When it comes to Qui Tam reports, the False Claims Act prevents employers from taking punitive action against any employee who files a Qui Tam report pertaining to defrauding a government program or contract.
An experienced San Bernardino whistleblower attorney is an invaluable asset for anyone considering filing a whistleblower report about their employer. This can be incredibly stressful, and the right legal team can make a tremendous difference in the quality of your experience through the proceedings to follow.
Careful documentation is often crucial to success with a whistleblower retaliation case. Do your best to save copies of all correspondence with your co-workers and employers through internal work email and messaging platforms. Once you file your report, your attorney will want to review any correspondence you receive from your employer. Ultimately, the evidence needed to prove whistleblower retaliation will vary based on the unique details of the case.
Many whistleblowers are entitled to claim compensation when they have been subjected to adverse treatment in response to their reports. An employer could face liability for lost income and benefits if the whistleblower was unlawfully terminated, and the whistleblower may also seek compensation for the emotional distress they experienced. Your San Bernardino whistleblower attorney can provide an estimate of the potential value of your claim.
Whistleblowers who file Qui Tam claims cannot do so to collect a reward. They must file these claims in good faith out of genuine concern. However, the government can reward any whistleblower who reports fraud resulting in economic damages. The government will typically reward the whistleblower with a percentage of the amount recovered, thanks to their report.
Some whistleblower retaliation cases can extend through protracted litigation that takes months or even years to resolve. Other cases are more straightforward and can be resolved more quickly. Your San Bernardino whistleblower lawyer can estimate how long your case will likely require to reach a satisfactory conclusion.
Acting as a whistleblower is a noble but challenging situation. Unfortunately, many whistleblowers do not come forward with the information they hold out of fear of losing their jobs and facing other adverse treatment from their employers. However, you can confidently approach your case when you have an experienced San Bernardino whistleblower attorney representing you.
The Azadian Law Group, PC, can help you understand the legal protections available to you following your whistleblower report and guide you through the difficult proceedings you face. Contact us today to schedule your consultation with our team and learn more about your legal options regarding your whistleblower report in San Bernardino.