Employees in Colorado are protected from workplace retaliation when they engage in behavior that is protected for public policy reasons. Federal and state laws exist to protect these employees who are courageous enough to report wrongdoing in the workplace. These employees are often referred to as whistleblowers, and cannot be terminated or otherwise punished by their companies for making good faith reports of misconduct to the proper authorities.
Video: Whistleblower Claims in Colorado
The False Claims Act protects these employees on the federal level, while Colorado has several statutes that set out protections for both public and private employees. There are different requirements for public and private employees, so if you are considering being a whistleblower, you may want to consult with an experienced attorney first.
Some whistleblowing activities that are protected from retaliation include:
- Reporting harassment
- Reporting discriminatory behavior
- Reporting wage or hour violations
- Reporting health or safety code violations
- Making a claim for worker’s compensation
- Reporting any other conduct that you believe to be dangerous, unethical or fraudulent
Colorado also has specific laws that protect whistleblowers in the health care field. The Act entitled “Concerning Protection for Health Care Workers who Report Patient Safety Information” was enacted in 2007 to encourage health care workers to report any concerns about patient safety or behaviors that may affect health care standards in Colorado.
Understanding Qui Tam Lawsuits and Claims
Qui Tam claims are a particular kind of whistleblower lawsuit in which a private individual files a claim against a third party that he or she alleges has participated in fraudulent government contracting processes. Modern Qui tam actions are brought under the False Claims Act, and allow the whistleblower to receive a certain percentage of the recovered damages. In order to file such a claim, the whistleblower must have credible and verifiable information about the alleged fraud. These claims are generally based on significant and continuous acts of fraud, and not on minor errors in accounting or technical violations.
Once a claim is filed, it is kept under seal for 60 days in order to give the United States Department of Justice time to investigate the claim and decide whether to join the suit as a plaintiff. It is important to note that the law provides whistleblowers significant protections from retaliatory actions on the part of the defendant. What this means is that if an employee of a company decides to expose that company’s fraud against the government, he or she may not be fired or otherwise penalized for bringing a claim.
Anyone who believes that they may have a qui tam claim against their employer or other party should be certain to consult with an experienced Colorado employment attorney as soon as possible. Some examples of the kinds of conduct that may give rise to a qui tam lawsuit include the following:
- Medicare fraud
- Receiving compensation for knowingly defective products
- Overbilling of time
- Overcharging for time or services
- Misallocation of funds earmarked for specific projects or programs
- Billing for more expensive equipment that the equipment provided
- Charging for services not performed
Experienced Employment Law Representation
If you believe you have a whistleblower claim, you should always contact an experienced Colorado employment law attorney for help and guidance. You should also contact an attorney immediately if you believed you have been terminated, demoted, or otherwise retaliated against as a result of a complaint or report you made regarding your employer. Our team at HKM Employment Attorneys has extensive experience in whistleblower and retaliation cases and our attorneys are dedicated to helping protect the brave employees who report unethical or dangerous conduct in the workplace.
Contact a Colorado whistleblower claims attorney from the firm today so that your case can be reviewed immediately.