Both federal and states laws protect California and Los Angeles employees who serve as whistleblowers. A whistleblower is someone who reports suspicious behavior or raises concern regarding an employer that engages in fraudulent behavior, violations of law, or other types of misconduct. A whistleblower usually works within the company that he or she reports.
Whistleblower Claims in California Video
The federal government protects whistleblowers and others from punishment or retaliation by their company under the False Claims Act. California also has its own version of the False Claims Act to protect its citizens who engage in conduct that is protected by public policy. Some examples of protected activity include:
- Reporting fraudulent, unethical, or dangerous actions in the workplace
- Making wage or hour complaints
- Filing a claim for worker’s compensation
- Reporting illegal activities or misconduct of a coworker
- Reporting unlawful discrimination or harassment in the workplace
- Reporting behavior that violates health or safety codes
In Los Angeles, it is unlawful for an employer to retaliate against any employee with adverse employment action who complains of or reports such conduct. If your employer does harass, demote, terminate, or otherwise mistreat you because you complained of misconduct, reported misconduct, or participated in an investigation related to misconduct, you should call a Los Angeles employment law attorney from our firm immediately
Understanding Qui Tam Lawsuits and Claims
Qui tam lawsuits are a type of whistleblower lawsuit filed against by private individuals on behalf of the federal government. Modern qui tam actions in the United States are brought under the False Claims Act, and allow citizens to receive a certain percentage of any recovered damages. Qui tam actions are brought against government contractors who have allegedly committed some sort of fraud against the government, and usually involve ongoing and significant violations.
In order to file a qui tam action, an individual who has credible and verifiable information about fraud against the government may file an action, usually through an attorney. Qui Tam actions are kept under seal for 60 days in order to allow the United State Department of Justice (DOJ) time to investigate the claim. If the DOJ determines the claim to be credible, the agency can join the suit as a plaintiff.
Qui tam actions also provide the plaintiff with certain whistleblower protections against retaliatory conduct on the part of an employer. If, for example, a person working with a government contractor exposes fraudulent claims against the government, the whistleblower’s employer is prohibited from terminating, demoting, lowering pay, or discriminating against the employee in retaliation for the exposure of the wrongful conduct.
If you believe that you may have a qui tam claim against your employer or another party, you should be certain to consult with an experienced Los Angeles employment law attorney as soon as possible. Your employer may try and intimidate you into silence, but understand that the law offers people who expose wrongful conduct against the government with significant legal protections. An attorney can help you determine whether you have a qui tam claim, and can also help you protect yourself from wrongful discharge or other retaliatory actions.
Examples of the Kinds of Conduct that may Give Rise to a Qui Tam Claim
Generally speaking, qui tam suits are brought against contractors who engage in significant and continuous fraud against the government. Accounting errors or minor technical violations do not usually rise to the level of qui tam violations. Some examples of the type of conduct that would be grounds for a qui tam suit include:
- Recurring fraudulent health care or medical claims
- Overcharging for items or services
- Over billing for time spent with clients or patients
- Underpayment of royalties
- Receiving payment for knowingly defective products supplied to the government
- Misallocating funds earmarked for a particular project or program
Experienced Employment Law Representation in LA
Our team at HKM Employment Attorneys has represented countless employees who have been wrongfully discharged or retaliated against due to protected activities. We can confidently handle all stages of whistleblower or retaliation cases, and will fight to achieve the most positive outcome possible for you.
Our firm focuses solely on employment law so we can ensure we are up to date on all the relevant laws and court decisions that may apply to employment cases. We have almost 40 years of combined experience in employment law, and you can trust us with your case. Do not hesitate to contact us to schedule a private consultation if you believe you have a claim against your employer.
Contact a Los Angeles whistleblower claims attorney from the firm today so that your case can be reviewed immediately.