Whistleblower Attorneys Near You
Strategic Guidance for Employment Lawsuits
When it comes to employment whistleblowing cases, the stakes can be high and the challenges manifold. The best way to protect your rights is to work with an employment law firm with specialized whistleblowing experience, an understanding of whistleblowing laws and regulations, and a commitment to safeguarding your interests.
At King and Siegel LLP, our whistleblower lawyers embody these attributes and offer services tailored to your unique legal needs. We’ve won over $45 million in settlements and verdicts and will do everything we can to make your experience as stress-free as possible. If you have a whistleblowing case, the following are a few skills and services our whistleblower lawyers offer:
- Personalized client focus. You will never be just another case number; you are an individual dealing with a challenging situation deserving of high-quality legal representation.
- Comprehensive case evaluation. Our advocates will help determine your case’s viability. This involves thoroughly examining each situation, the available evidence, and all applicable laws.
- A multifaceted approach to resolution. We adopt a versatile approach to problem-solving. Whether through mediation, direct negotiation, or litigation, we can resolve your case effectively by assessing your situation’s unique merits before deciding which approach will provide the best results.
- Skilled negotiators. We have the expertise to secure your rights and negotiate fair treatment, fair compensation, and if need be, a fair workplace departure.
- Future employment concerns. We can assist with future employment considerations such as professional references and the terms under which you and your employer part ways. We aim to ensure that your case has the least negative impact on your future career prospects.
King and Siegel LLP offers expertise, comprehensive service, and personalized care, making us an excellent choice for whistleblower representation.
Strategic Guidance for Employment Lawsuits
State and federal law protect you from retaliation for raising concerns about your employer’s illegal conduct. Whether you stand up for your right to legal wages or working conditions or call attention to illegal conduct by your company or co-workers, you are protected from employer retaliation. Often, employers terminate or otherwise discipline whistleblowers for being “troublemakers” or for other pretextual reasons. This is illegal, and our experienced whistleblower protection attorneys can help you assert your rights.
If your co-workers or supervisors are engaging in illegal conduct, or your employer retaliated against you for raising compliance concerns, know that you are not alone. Illegal conduct at work is extremely common. In 2022, the California State Auditor’s Office logged 1,075 whistleblower allegations, covering everything from the misuse of state funds to time and attendance abuses. The ensuing investigations revealed $585 million in improper spending. Imagine how much less fraud there would be if everyone who knew of it spoke up.
While Congress designed the Whistleblower Protection Act to safeguard employees, it can only do this if the law is appropriately upheld. Thankfully, you can rely on our dedicated whistleblower attorneys at King & Siegel LLP to provide true protection for workers. Do not fear harassment or retaliation when we are ready to fight aggressively for you.
Contact us now at (213) 465-4802 when you have questions, and our dependable team of employment lawyers can give you the answers you need.
Am I a Whistleblower?
A whistleblower is someone who learns of illegal activity and reports it, either internally or to government agencies. Your employer does not need to be the one perpetrating the illegal conduct for instance, you could learn that a client or subcontractor is committing fraud and suffer retaliation for reporting it. You would be a whistleblower in this situation.
The law has protected whistleblowers for hundreds of years. In California, a number of laws protect whistleblowers. Our top whistleblower attorneys can help you determine if you are a whistleblower. We encourage you to contact us for a free case review if you would like to talk through your situation and better understand your rights.
Types of Whistleblower Cases
Whistleblowers report a wide variety of misconduct, so many types of whistleblower cases exist.
Data Privacy & Security Whistleblowers
As regulators catch up to the new data-driven economy, an increasing number of laws govern personal data collected or maintained by tech companies, health insurers, financial services firms, and government contractors. Companies can be slow to come into compliance with these rules, and well-intentioned employees often meet internal resistance for explaining that their employer is breaking the law.
While the California Consumer Privacy Act does not contain any specific whistleblower protections (industry lobbyists struck attempts to include such provisions) existing law protects employees who complain about illegal conduct at work. If your employer retaliates against you for challenging data privacy or security practices, you may have a claim for wrongful demotion or wrongful termination in violation of public policy.
Insurance Fraud Whistleblowers
Fraud against private insurance companies is bad for everyone: it increases premiums and allows wrongdoers to profit from their intentional misconduct. California has enacted a special whistleblower protection law to address this problem. This law also prohibits retaliation by employers whose employees complain of insurance fraud violations.
California’s insurance fraud law provides treble damages and additional penalties. Eligible whistleblowers can receive a percentage of the overall amount recovered by the government.
Fraud under the California insurance fraud law includes:
- Falsely inflating the amount of a loss
- Submitting fake bills for services not actually performed
- Paying kickbacks to doctors in exchange for referrals or prescribing certain drugs
- Failing to disclose information that would make the loss ineligible for coverage
Under this law, whistleblowers file a sealed complaint in court and provide the complaint to the relevant regulators. Government prosecutors can then choose to intervene and prosecute the case. If they do, the whistleblower usually receives around 30% of the amount recovered. If the government does not intervene, the whistleblower usually keeps between 40 and 50% of the recovery.
Employees in finance and accounting often learn that their employer is committing tax fraud. The federal Tax Relief and Health Care Act provide whistleblower rewards to those who report tax fraud where the amount in dispute exceeds $2 million. The IRS has paid over $500 million in whistleblower rewards under this program.
Medicare whistleblowers usually work in health care and include doctors, nurses, CNS, other nursing home or senior care center staff, hospice workers, billing clerks, pharmaceutical employees, and other healthcare professionals and workers in allied health fields. Medicare whistleblowers report a variety of illegal conduct, including:
- Billing for services that were never provided
- “Upcoding” or charging for more expensive services instead of the less expensive services that were actually provided
- Prescribing unnecessary services just to bill for them
- Marketing drugs for “off-label” uses by pharmaceutical companies
- Paying kickbacks to doctors and other medical professionals for referring clients or prescribing certain drugs or services
Medicare whistleblowers typically bring claims under the federal False Claims Act, the most successful government whistleblower program of our time. Under the False Claims Act, the government has recovered over $38 billion of taxpayer money that was lost to fraud. Whistleblowers may be entitled to 15-30% of the government’s recovery.
Government Contractor Whistleblowers
State and federal agencies dole out billions of dollars of contracts each year based on information submitted in bid proposals by government contractors. These contractors provide services ranging from manufacturing and distributing military equipment and food services for military or other government projects to manufacturing and distributing medication under government healthcare programs. Government contractors defraud the government and taxpayers by doing any of the following:
- Providing substandard services or services other than those contracted for during the bid process
- Failing to disclose illegal bribes during the bidding or contract administration process
- Failing to disclose illegal kickbacks paid to subcontractors or other market participants
- “Padding” bills or charging for more expensive services instead of less expensive services actually rendered
- Submitting false or forged certifications
- Submitting knowingly inflated or false bills for services to the government
- Any other knowingly false or fraudulent practices intended to defraud the government
Whistleblowers are entitled to reinstatement to their position (if they were demoted, suspended, terminated, etc. for whistleblowing), double back pay, interest, compensatory damages, and attorneys’ fees and costs. They may also have claims under the False Claims Act and be entitled to a whistleblower reward based on their report of illegal conduct.
Securities Exchange Commission (SEC) Whistleblowers
An SEC whistleblower reports violations of federal securities laws such as fraud, insider trading, market manipulation, and violations of disclosure requirements to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).. Established by the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act (Dodd-Frank Act) in 2010, the SEC Whistleblower Program provides monetary incentives and employment protections to individuals who provide credible information leading to successful enforcement actions.
For example, whistleblowers may be eligible for a reward if their information leads to a successful enforcement action resulting in monetary sanctions exceeding $1 million. The whistleblower can receive between 10% and 30% of the money collected, depending on factors such as the quality of the information provided and the degree to which the whistleblower assists the investigation. SEC whistleblowers can remain anonymous when filing a report, although they must be represented by legal counsel to do so. This provision helps reduce fear of retaliation.
Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) Whistleblowers
An FCPA whistleblower reports violations of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) to relevant authorities, most commonly the SEC. The FCPA is a U.S. federal law enacted in 1977 that prohibits companies and their subsidiaries from bribing foreign officials to gain or retain business. It also mandates accurate record-keeping and financial reporting by companies listed on U.S. stock exchanges.
FCPA whistleblowers typically report activities like bribery of foreign officials, fraudulent accounting, and other corrupt practices intended to gain unfair business advantages in foreign markets. Like SEC whistleblowers under the Dodd-Frank Act, FCPA whistleblowers may be eligible for monetary rewards if their information leads to successful enforcement actions with sanctions exceeding $1 million.
Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) Whistleblowers
A CFTC whistleblower reports violations of the Commodity Exchange Act to the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC), the federal agency responsible for regulating the U.S. derivatives markets, including futures, options, and swaps. Whistleblowers can report a wide array of misconduct, including fraud, manipulation of markets, and insider trading. The CFTC Whistleblower Program was created under the Dodd-Frank Act, paralleling similar programs at the SEC.
Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and Unsafe Conditions Whistleblowers
Whistleblowers can ensure that workplaces adhere to mandated safety and health standards. They report unsafe or unhealthy working conditions or workplace safety law violations to their employer or the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). These conditions often relate to issues like hazardous materials, unsafe machinery, lack of proper safety equipment, violations of health codes, or other violations of federal or state occupational safety and health laws that can endanger employees’ well-being.
Wrongful Termination Claims Due to Whistleblowing
In California, whistleblower retaliation is illegal. Multiple laws protect employees whose employers terminate them for complaining about illegal conduct or reporting illegal activity to law enforcement or regulators are protected by multiple laws.
Labor Code § 1102.5 provides that employers cannot retaliate against you for reporting conduct you reasonably believe to be unlawful to others at the company (for instance, for complaining to Human Resources or calling a whistleblower hotline) or to a government agency. Section 1102.5 also prohibits employers from retaliating against you because you refuse to participate in illegal conduct. If your employer terminates because you reported illegal conduct internally or to law enforcement, or because you simply refused to participate personally in the illegal conduct, laws protecct you from retaliation.
In addition, people who are terminated for complaining about illegal conduct may have a claim for “wrongful termination in violation of public policy.”
What Should I Do If I Think I Have a Claim?
If you believe that you have information that supports a whistleblower case, it is important that you approach your case carefully and strategically.
- Keep records – Keep documentation of the wrongdoing, including notes from conversations, meetings, and other important documents.
- Report your concerns – Report violations according to your company policy, and be sure to follow the procedures outlined by your employer.
- Call an attorney – act quickly and contact a whistleblower lawyer as soon as possible. Your attorney can advise you on how to proceed and how to conduct yourself during the investigation in order to protect your interests.
An employment law attorney at King & Siegel LLP can help protect your rights and ensure you collect all pertinent information and documents while navigating the reporting process. Contact us and let us explain how we can help you.
How Can a Whistleblower Attorney Help?
Whistleblower cases involve a variety of complicated issues that make it best to consult with an attorney early on. An experienced whistleblower rights attorney can help you understand how to collect documents to prove illegal conduct, how to present your information to law enforcement, and can represent you in interviews with government agencies. These decisions can be stressful on your own, and an experienced attorney can alleviate the uncertainty by providing guidance through these complexities.
A lawyer will also help you understand the law governing your employer’s illegal activity. They will investigate and determine whether your complaints are “protected,” meaning whether there is a reasonable likelihood your employer is breaking the law or whether you made your complaint in good faith.
A lawyer will also help you initiate your claim with the appropriate agencies and represent you in any government proceedings. We do everything we can to help our clients maximize the value of their claims. And if you are still employed while making complaints, we can help protect you from retaliation.
Experienced, Highly Qualified Whistleblower Attorneys
Whistleblower cases can be complicated. Many cases involve showing that (1) your allegations of illegal conduct were “reasonable” and (2) your employer took an “adverse employment action”—that you suffered some tangible employment consequence, like a demotion, reduced hours, diminished responsibility, a pay cut, or termination. Many employment attorneys lack experience diving into the nitty-gritty of your employer’s business to prove that your employer was breaking the law.
At King & Siegel LLP, we stand with you and are prepared to take proactive measures on your behalf. When it comes to whistleblowing matters, a King & Siegel LLP whistleblower lawyer can:
- Assess the strength of your case under relevant state and federal whistleblower legislation and other local and federal regulations that guard against employer reprisals for workers who reveal breaches of safety guidelines, misuse of taxpayer money, or other illicit conduct;
- Help amicably resolve your case without resorting to court proceedings through methods like mediation or negotiation when possible;
- Initiate legal action on your behalf if necessary;
- Initiate a qui tam lawsuit under the False Claims Act if you possess proof that your employer defrauded the U.S. government;
- Evaluate a just severance or settlement package related to your case; and
- Discuss future employment prospects.
Our employment law legal team is especially well qualified to take on challenging and complicated whistleblower cases. The attorneys who lead our whistleblower practice previously litigated white-collar crime and other complex financial and regulatory cases and are well-versed in accounting, regulatory compliance, and government enforcement agencies. We have experience helping clients make protected reports, walking you through preserving important documents without risking liability to yourself, and litigating and resolving claims in court, arbitration, and government agency forums.
Our whistleblower lawyers have worked on whistleblower, and False Claims Act cases against some of the biggest government contractors and private companies. We are passionate about representing whistleblowers; it is an honor to represent workers brave enough to resist a culture of misconduct and do the right thing.
Frequently Asked Questions:
What Constitutes “Whistleblowing”?
While the government is primarily responsible for enforcing the law, regulatory and law enforcement officials are not in the best position to identify fraud, employment violations, and other unlawful conduct within a company. Often, businesses intentionally keep these activities “behind closed doors,” making it difficult for the government to detect criminal law and regulatory violations.
Whistleblowing refers to an employee bringing an employer’s illegal conduct to the government’s attention. Once an employee blows the whistle, the government reviews the case to determine if it wants to intervene. However, even if the government does not intervene, an employee can proceed with the case independently.
Employees can report almost any type of illegal activity. For example, the following are all types of whistleblower claims:
- Data privacy and security violations,
- Employment law violations,
- Government contractor violations,
- Insurance fraud violations,
- Medicare fraud and waste, and
- Tax evasion.
If you believe that your employer violated the law, the whistleblower lawyers at King & Sigel LLP can explain your options and help you bring the illegal conduct to light.
Is Whistleblowing a Crime?
No. Whistleblowers play an important role in preventing others from committing crimes and engaging in unlawful activity. In fact, employees who report an employer’s illegal activity enjoy protection under state and federal law. Also, whistleblowers who bring claims that ultimately end in the government recovering damages are entitled to a percentage of the recovered amount.
How Are Whistleblowers Protected?
Both state and federal laws protect whistleblowers who bring a claim in good faith. Both California and federal law have a Whistleblower Protection Act, which prevents an employer from retaliating against a whistleblower. Retaliation refers to any adverse action taken against an employee. Adverse action includes, but is not limited to-
- Pay decreases,
- Removal of seniority,
- Threats to report a worker or their family members to immigration authorities,
- Denying an employee access to training opportunities, and
- Denying workers access to the resources they need to effectively do their job.
However, neither state nor federal law prohibits an employer from taking any of these actions if the reasoning is unrelated to the employee’s whistleblowing. Thus, often, employers try to come up with “legal” reasons to get rid of whistleblowers. The experienced whistleblower lawyers at King & Siegel LLP can help protect employees who want to call out their employer’s illegal conduct.
Protection Against Retaliation
If you have taken the courageous act of standing up for justice, then you deserve justice yourself. When your employer has discovered you are a whistleblower against their corruption, you do not need to fear their retaliation, so long as you have our dependable whistleblower lawyers near.
- The Equal Pay Act,
- Sexual Harassment,
- Medical & Disability Leave,
- Stock Disputes,
- Wrongful Termination,
- Wage & Hour Violations, and
- Workplace Retaliation.
If you are experiencing whistleblower retaliation or have witnessed unfair practices at work, call King & Siegel LLP now for a free 30-minute consultation to discuss your case and options! We work on a contingency basis, which means you don’t pay us unless you win.