Birmingham Whistleblower Protection Lawyers
What Is a Whistleblower?
Under certain circumstances, a person who discloses information about violations of the law, unsafe activities, authority abuse, or other public dangers is referred to as a whistleblower. A whistleblower, also known as a relator, could accuse an individual or a business of infringements by relating his or her allegations to a government agency, an authority figure, the news media or even the general public.
Very often, whistleblowers are individuals who have information about misconduct or legal violations on the part of their employers. To protect whistleblowers against the threat of retaliatory actions from their employers, the government has enacted legislation to protect whistleblowers, beginning in 1863 during the Civil War. If you have reported an illegal act and fear reprisal for your action, you should speak to an employment lawyer from Wrady & Michel, LLC. We make ourselves readily available for clients that need legal representation.
False Claims Act
During the Civil War, Congress passed the False Claims Act to protect persons that were reporting fraudulent contractors that were selling inferior products to the Army. The act included a provision that offered a reward for citizens who were willing to sue the contractor on behalf of the government. This type of lawsuit is referred to as a qui tam lawsuit, based on a Latin phrase which translates to "He who sues on behalf of the King as much as for himself." According to 31 USC § 3729, an individual or corporation may be found in violation of the False Claims Act for doing any of the following:
- Knowingly presenting, or causing to be presented, a false or fraudulent claim for payment or approval;
- Knowingly making, using, or causing to be made or used, a false record or statement material to a false or fraudulent claim;
- Conspiring to commit a violation of subparagraph (A), (B), (D), (E), (F), or (G);
- Having possession, custody, or control of property or money used, or to be used, by the Government and knowingly delivering, or causing to be delivered, less than all of that money or property;
- Being authorized to make or deliver a document certifying receipt of property used, or to be used, by the Government and, intending to defraud the Government, making or delivering the receipt without completely knowing that the information on the receipt is true;
- Knowingly buying, or receiving as a pledge of an obligation or debt, public property from an officer or employee of the Government, or a member of the Armed Forces, who lawfully may not sell or pledge property; or
- Knowingly making, using, or causing to be made or used, a false record or statement material to an obligation to pay or transmit money or property to the Government, or knowingly conceals or knowingly and improperly avoids or decreases an obligation to pay or transmit money or property to the Government
Parties found guilty of committing any of the above may be penalized up to $10,000 in addition to triple the amount of damages that the government incurred because of the violator's actions. According to the qui tam provision, the plaintiff who brings the charge against the violator may retain 15-30% of the total government recovery. To begin the process, the relator must file a statement confidentially in a federal district court and must include any evidence against the defendant.
If you are considering filing a qui tam lawsuit, then you may want the assistance of our whistleblower protection attorneys. The False Claims Act and other laws related to whistleblowing can be quite complex and confusing. To get the most financial recovery possible, it is wise for you to speak with an attorney from our firm about your situation.
Whistleblowing and the Workplace
The most common type of whistleblower is one who reports misconduct of a person within their company. Fortunately, the Occupational Safety & Health Administration has made certain provisions that safeguard the rights of employees who are reporting their employer's illegal activities with the Occupational Health and Safety Act (OHSA). If you fear retaliation, or have been retaliated against, for blowing the whistle about certain types of legal violations, you may be eligible for whistleblower protections. Once an employee notifies a government agency or files a complaint against their employer, the company will sometimes retaliate by firing or bringing disciplinary action against the employee. The purpose of the OHSA is to make sure that that employees can expose fraudulent employers without fear of reprisal.
If you notified an agency of your employer's misdeeds and are being punished for it, then you should get in touch with our whistleblower protection lawyers. Our Birmingham employment law attorneys can listen to your story and determine whether you have grounds for a whistleblower claim. We are solely dedicated to settling cases related to employment law, and we believe that employee's rights are of supreme importance. Depending on the circumstances of your situation, you may have a right to file a complaint. We can help walk you through the process and explain the laws that apply to your situation. Make sure that you do so quickly, because you only have 30 days to report the incident.
Lawyers Who Can Make a Difference in Your Claim
If you choose to work with our attorneys, you can be sure that we will communicate with you from start to finish. We understand that you may be experiencing a mixture of fear, anxiety and oppression under the circumstances of your current situation. Let us provide you with wise legal counsel, so you can pursue the results and the future that you desire! We offer a phone case evaluation so that you may obtain advice and information regarding your case before making any commitment to our firm.
Contact us at (205) 265-1880 for the support that you need during this time.