Your work should not put you in fear of legal repercussions from the federal or state government.
Employees should not feel pressure to perform illegal acts at work, and they should have freedom to report their employers’ wrongdoings.
The government agrees with this and has enacted multiple laws to protect whistleblowing employees from employer retaliation.
If you need this type of protection, our experienced Thousand Oaks whistleblower attorneys can help you make the most of your legal rights. Contact us today.
What Is a Whistleblower?
- Reports their employer’s unlawful activities to the appropriate authorities;
- Participates in the investigation of, or litigation against, their employer’s unlawful employment practices; or
- Refuses to perform illegal acts that their employer requests.
Reporting violations does not have to be part of an employee’s job duties for them to be a whistleblower. Any employee who properly voices a disagreement or complains about unlawful schemes at work can seek refuge under the law.
What Is an Unlawful Activity?
Any time your employer takes part in or encourages activities that violate local, state, or federal laws or regulations, you could have a whistleblower issue on your hands.
Among the illegal activities you could report or refuse to participate in are:
- Noncompliance with work safety rules;
- Violations of securities laws;
- Noncompliance with licensing or permit requirements;
- Tax fraud;
- Noncompliance with family and medical leave laws;
- Financial crimes;
- Violations of anti-discrimination laws;
- Noncompliance with wage and hour laws;
- Financial fraud;
- Violations of anti-retaliation laws;
- Insurance fraud;
- Violations of environmental protection rules;
- Noncompliance with food safety rules; and
- Other illegal activities.
This is not an exhaustive list of the unlawful activities you could report or refuse to participate in. However, this list should give you an idea of the expansiveness of whistleblower protection laws.
If you have any concerns about the legality of your employer’s actions, talk to an experienced employment attorney. Your attorney can help you protect your livelihood when you speak out against unlawful behavior.
What Is Proper Reporting?
Reports of your employer’s illegal deeds must be made to the proper authorities first. This helps you maintain your rights to the safeguards in many whistleblower laws.
The proper authorities include:
- Supervisors, executives, and colleagues at work who have authority to investigate and correct the reported violations;
- Law enforcement; or
- Government agencies.
If your employer retaliates against you for making a report to one of these authorities, you can sue them. You should contact an attorney to understand the best way to report the misconduct and preserve your legal options.
What Is Whistleblower Retaliation?
If your employer is unscrupulous enough to practice or demand illegal behavior, reporting their misdeeds could leave you vulnerable.
An unscrupulous employer probably has no qualms about retaliating against you for refusing to participate in illegality. This retaliation can come in many shapes.
You are a victim of whistleblower retaliation if you report or decline to engage in illegal acts and, in turn, your employer:
- Fires you;
- Cuts your pay;
- Denies you a promotion;
- Gives you a poor work evaluation;
- Withholds work benefits from you;
- Initiates disciplinary action against you;
- Demotes you; or
- Transfers you.
Once again, this list is not exhaustive. But we want to make sure you know that unlawful retaliation against a whistleblower does not occur just when an employer fires you.
You can file a retaliation complaint or lawsuit whenever a negative action is taken against you at work because of your whistleblowing.
You also have the right to file a retaliation complaint if you did not report your employer, but your employer punished you because they believed you reported them.
Remedies for Retaliation
If your retaliation case is successful, you could win:
- Back pay,
- Compensatory damages for your financial losses,
- Job reinstatement,
- Benefit reinstatement, and
Some anti-retaliation laws allow you to recover attorney fees and double back pay. To make sure you timely file your retaliation complaint with the correct government agency, it is best to speak to one of our Thousand Oaks Whistleblower lawyers immediately.
Qui Tam Cases
You can sue your employer under the Federal Claims Act (FCA) for fraudulently obtaining money from the federal government.
This is called a “qui tam” action. You must file this type of action in the United States District Court.
In an FCA lawsuit against your employer, you act as an extension of the United States government. The U.S. government may decide to intervene in your FCA lawsuit, or it may choose to let you litigate the entire case on your own.
If the U.S. government intervenes in your case, you have a right to between 15% and 25% of the money recovered from the litigation.
If the U.S. government does not intervene, you have a right to between 25% and 30% of the money recovered from the litigation.
There is a hefty reward for exposing fraudulent employer activities, but you must follow complex procedural rules. With the help of a good attorney, your FCA lawsuit has the best chance for success.
Talk to Our Thousand Oaks Whistleblower Lawyers
Confronting an employer is not easy, especially if your employer is not afraid to behave in illegal ways. But what you do to expose unlawfulness at work helps you and our community, and we want to protect you.
At King & Siegel LLP, our Thousand Oaks whistleblower lawyers learned from the finest law schools and trained at the biggest law firms.
Our top-notch legal team can give you the best aggressive and personalized legal services.
We have won millions for mistreated employees. Do not be afraid to speak out against what is wrong, and do not let unethical employers intimidate you.
You have our legal experts in your corner whenever you are ready to discuss workplace issues. Contact us online for a free case evaluation. You don’t pay unless we win.