Many employees have found themselves in the unfortunate position of learning about unethical, unsafe, or illegal actions of their employers. If an employee is brave enough to report such violations of the law to the proper channels, they are referred to as “whistleblowers.” In some instances, whistleblowers may file “qui tam” actions, which expose fraud against the federal government, which brings a claim against the company.
It should be no surprise that employers exposed by whistleblowers often try to retaliate against these employees in a variety of harmful ways. Fortunately, different laws exist that protect the rights of whistleblowers and are intended to encourage people to come forward with information about illegal acts of companies.
Whistleblowers provide an often invaluable service and yet can face significant and unfair repercussions in their jobs as a result. At the Las Vegas office of HKM Employment Attorneys, we work to protect the rights of whistleblowers and to ensure they obtain the financial recovery they deserve for any harm suffered.
Laws Protecting Whistleblowers
Some agencies that regulate labor and employment have their own programs that protect the rights of whistleblowers. For example, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has Whistleblower Protection Programs that provide specific rights for workers who expose unsafe or unhealthy working conditions.
Perhaps the most prominent law that protects whistleblowers is the False Claims Act. This law prohibits retaliation against whistleblowers, which can include the following:
- Harassment or threats;
- Demotion or pay reduction;
- Denial of promotion or other opportunities;
- Enhanced supervision without justification;
- Unjustified negative reviews, evaluations, or references;
If an employer engages in any type of unlawful retaliation, the False Claims Act provides certain legal remedies for qualified employees, which can include:
- Reinstatement to a position from which the employee was fired;
- Compensation for back pay, sometimes at twice the usual pay rate;
- Compensation for the costs of bringing a claim.
In order to be protected by the False Claims Act, you must truthfully report wrongful activity of your employer. There is no protection for employees who make false reports and, in fact, filing a false report will generally result in liability for the employee.
If you are thinking about blowing the whistle on your employer, it is important to be certain of your allegations and recognize the possible implications. It is wise to discuss the possibility with an experienced employment lawyer before moving forward.
Find Out How Our Experienced Las Vegas Employment Attorneys Can Help You
Being in the position of a whistleblower is never easy, yet it is an honorable undertaking. On top of the inherent stress of the position, you should never have to be the victim of unlawful retaliation by your employer. While there are legal protections for whistleblowers, it often requires the assistance of a skilled employment lawyer to obtain the benefits of these laws. At HKM Employment Attorneys, we understand all of your rights as a whistleblower and strive to protect them. If you believe you need legal assistance, please contact our office at 702-625-3893 or via our online form.