Many anti-retaliation and whistleblower protection laws protect employees who engage in whistleblower acts, and come forward to report illegal conduct, such as safety violations, fraud on the state and federal governments, fraud on insurance companies, unpaid wages or other labor code violations.
A number of statutes protect federal whistleblowers. The False Claims Act not only permits whistleblowers who report fraud on the federal government to recover a portion of the damages in a qui tam action, but also protects the whistleblower from retaliation. Damages for back pay lost because of retaliation for reports protected by the False Claims Act can be doubled, and damages for emotional distress and attorney fees are also available.
The Corporate and Criminal Fraud Accountability Act of 2002 (Sarbanes-Oxley Act) protects from retaliation employees of publicly traded companies who provide evidence of fraud to a federal regulatory or law enforcement agency, a member of Congress, or a supervisor (but not leaks to the media).
The Federal Deposit Insurance Act protects bank employees from discharge or discrimination for providing information to any federal banking agency or the Attorney General regarding possible violations of the banking laws; gross mismanagement or waste of funds; abuse of authority; danger to public health or safety by the depository institution or any of its directors, officers or employees.
The Fair Labor Standards Act protects any employee against retaliation for filing or testifying in a proceeding under that Act.
Similar anti-retaliation provisions are found in the Commercial Motor Vehicle Safety Act, and a variety of environmental statutes such as the Air Pollution Prevention and Control Act, the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act (Superfund Act) as well as the Safe Drinking Water Act, among others.
Our whistleblower law firm has had success representing federal whistleblowers, and can advise you as to whether you might have a claim.
California also provides strong protections for whistleblowers.
Labor Code section 1102.5 protects California employees from retaliation for disclosing information about a violation of law or regulations to a government or law enforcement agency or to certain persons within the employer's organization, regardless of whether disclosing the information is part of the employee's job duties. Labor Code §1102.5 also protects employees who refuse to participate in an activity that would result in a violation or noncompliance with a local, state, or federal statute, regulation or rule.
California Labor Code section 98.6 also prohibits an employer from retaliating against an employee for making a claim for unpaid wages; for lawful conduct during nonworking hours; and for attempting to prevent an employee from engaging in political activity or requiring an employee to participate in political activity.
The California False Claims Act permits qui tam actions to recover money paid by the Government to private contractors as a result of fraud. Damages for back pay lost because of retaliation for reports protected by the False Claims Act can be doubled, and damages for emotional distress and attorney fees are also available.
The California Insurance Frauds Prevention Act also permits qui tam actions for health care fraud, and contains similar anti-retaliation protections.
The California Whistleblower Protection Act protects current and prospective state employees, including of the University of California and California State University against retaliation for disclosing waste, fraud, abuse of authority, violation of law or threats to public health.
If you believe that you have been retaliated against after reporting fraud, unpaid wages, safety violations or other illegal conduct, the attorneys at Kelley• Semmel, LLP can help you determine if you have a qui tam case and/or claim for damages.