Coyle Browne Law

San Diego Whistleblower & Retaliation Lawyer

San Diego Whistleblower & Retaliation Attorney

Some schemes against the government, fraudulent practices of businesses, and other nefarious situations have been revealed because workers with inside knowledge have bravely come forward to report illegal, unsafe, or unethical practices by their employers. These employees put themselves at risk of retaliation if their employer finds out about their report. Fortunately, laws exist to protect these brave whistleblowers. If you fear retaliation or have questions about whistleblower protections, contact Coyle Browne Law, PLC for help.

What Is a Whistleblower?

A whistleblower is someone who reports wrongful conduct by their employer. Typically, the employer’s wrongdoing has to do with one or more of the following:

  • The commission of a crime
  • The violation of a law, rule, or regulation
  • Gross mismanagement
  • Gross waste of funds
  • An abuse of authority
  • A significant and specific danger to public health or safety

Whistleblowers may be governmental employees. However, they could also be private-sector employees, contractors, or subcontractors.

What Is Whistleblower Protection?

Because the law recognizes that whistleblowers perform an important public service, there are various protections afforded to these individuals. One such protective law is the Whistleblower Protection Act. This law was established to protect employees who make a protected disclosure from retaliation, which may include:

  • Taking action against the whistleblower, such as firing, demoting, or giving a lower wage to them
  • Failing to take positive action with the whistleblower, such as not promoting them
  • Threatening to take action against the whistleblower

The law protects the disclosure of information from employees that they reasonably believe shows evidence of an activity that is a violation of a law, mismanagement, abuse of authority, gross waste of funds, or a significant and specific danger to public health or safety.

Whistleblower protection laws may allow workers to make reports confidentially so that they do not have to worry about retaliation. They also provide legal remedies if the whistleblower is retaliated against.

Who Is Covered by Whistleblower Protection?

Whistleblower protections may extend to government workers, private sector workers, contractors, and subcontractors, depending on the situation. Qui tam lawsuits allow private citizens to sue on behalf of the government even if they have not suffered any personal harm. They may also allow citizens to recover part of the recoveries the government makes due to the disclosures.

Common Violations that Lead to Whistleblowing

There are a variety of violations that may lead to whistleblowing. A common source of whistleblower reports is due to health care fraud involving Medicare and Medicaid, such as through:

  • Submitting false claims for reimbursement
  • Wrongly billing for unnecessary care
  • Overbilling
  • Inflating employee work hours
  • Wrongly billing for drugs or services not rendered or necessary
  • Engaging in fraudulent practices in the sale of prescription medications
  • Selling drugs with questionable safety

Other common violations that lead to whistleblowing include reports of:

  • Tax evasion
  • Brokerage firm fraud
  • Defense procurements or defense contract fraud
  • Underpayment of royalties
  • Construction cases
  • Computer supplier fraud
  • Pharmaceutical billing fraud
  • COVID-19 or pandemic relief fund fraud

How an Attorney Can Help with a Whistleblower Retaliation Claim

Whistleblower lawsuits can be complicated. An attorney with experience dealing with these specialized claims can explain your rights, identify where a report should be made, advise you on steps to take to protect yourself, and assist you with making claims. Many of these claims have a “first to file” rule, so time is of the essence. Contact Coyle Browne Law, PLC for help today.

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