In today’s world, it is more important than ever to stand up for what is right. Unfortunately, powerful forces sometimes punish individuals who speak truth to power by ruining their livelihoods or future prospects. In particular, it is common for employers to retaliate against employees who report unethical practices to regulatory authorities.
If you are facing whistleblower retaliation, it is important to seek legal representation. Our Newark employment law attorneys have years of experience advocating on behalf of whistleblowers. Contact our experienced attorney today and let them know more about your situation.
The False Claims Act
Many whistleblowers are unaware that the False Claims Act provides robust protections against employer retaliation. Section 3730(h) of this federal law states that any employee who is harassed, fired, or demoted as a result of investigating or moving to stop an employer from defrauding the United States is entitled to relief.
What protections does the False Claims Act provide?
An individual who assists the government in bringing a lawsuit against an entity that has attempted to defraud the government is known as a qui tam relator. Similarly, qui tam is a type of lawsuit where a private individual, the qui tam relator, assists the government in prosecuting the organization that has attempted to defraud them.
If the lawsuit is successful, the qui tam relator is eligible for a reward. Any individual with information on an entity that has attempted to defraud the government can bring about a qui tam lawsuit. After filing this type of lawsuit, the individual is entitled to certain protections under the False Claims Act.
Qui Tam Provisions
Under the False Claims Act, individuals who file a qui tam lawsuit are protected by the law’s provisions that prevent retaliatory acts and legislative violations. This law was designed to cover employees, independent contractors, and independent agents.
Other Whistleblower Protection Laws in Newark
The False Claims Act isn’t the only federal law in place to protect whistleblowers against employer retaliation. Other legislation includes the following:
- Anti-Money Laundering Whistleblower Protection Law
- Consumer Financial Protection Act
- Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act
- Criminal Antitrust Anti-Retaliation Act
- Dodd-Frank Act (protecting whistleblowing to the SEC and CFTC)
- Energy Reorganization Act
- False Claims Act
- Federal Railroad Safety Act
- Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA)
- National Transit Systems Security Act
- Sarbanes-Oxley Act
- Surface Transportation Assistance Act
- Taxpayer First Act
- Wendell H. Ford Aviation Investment and Reform Act for the 21st Century
- Whistleblower Protection Act
As you can see, plenty of safeguards can be applied to protect whistleblowers who are only trying to do the right thing. A qualified attorney will be able to interpret the law and advocate for the maximum amount of compensation.
What is whistleblower retaliation?
Although it might not initially seem that way, whistleblower retaliation applies to a broad group of employer responses to whistleblower actions. As such, retaliation can take many forms, a small number of which are outlined below:
- Wage garnishment
- Retaliatory investigation
- Forced administrative leave
- Threats of adverse action
- Unnecessary surveillance
- Outing of the whistleblower
- Promotion of a hostile work environment at the whistleblower’s expense
- Unnecessary performance evaluations
- Strategic use of performance evaluations as a pretext for termination
- A retaliatory lawsuit against the whistleblower
It is important to note that retaliation claims are evaluated by the Department of Labor’s Administrative Review Board. This board takes retaliation very seriously and is known for its broad interpretation of the concept. Consequently, the above list represents a fraction of what could constitute retaliation.
Are you being retaliated against in Newark?
Unfortunately, it can be difficult to determine whether your employer is retaliating against you. Some companies go to great lengths to muddy the waters and trick employees into thinking that certain disciplinary actions are a result of their job performance when it is actually unfair punishment.
Remember that retaliation doesn’t necessarily result in termination. You could be denied a promotion, transferred to another department, or deprived of certain responsibilities that you enjoy.
If you suspect you are being retaliated against, it is important to document and save any evidence that you could use against the employer. From there, you can contact NJ Employment Lawyers, where an expert attorney can give you more comprehensive advice.
Do you qualify as a whistleblower?
A whistleblower is an employee of a company who possesses detailed information concerning fraud that the company might be committing. Their evidence must be based on their own personal knowledge of the company’s actions. For that reason, information derived from media or internet sources is usually unacceptable.
If you have questions about whether you qualify as a whistleblower, contact an expert attorney at NJ Employment Lawyers today. Additionally, if you or a loved one are experiencing retaliation after reporting your company’s fraudulent actions, get in touch with NJ Employment Lawyers as soon as possible.