The federal government relies on whistleblowers to sound the alarm on fraud. Unfortunately, whistleblowers sometimes face retaliation from employers for doing the right thing. Retaliation can take on many forms, and it is prohibited by several federal laws, including the False Claims Act. In most cases, companies can be held accountable for retaliating against employees who blow the whistle on fraud. Under the False Claims Act, whistleblowers who experience workplace retaliation may be eligible for:
- Double back-pay
- Special damages
- Future lost earnings
- Compensation for legal fees and case costs
Examples of Whistleblower Retaliation
In the context of the False Claims Act, whistleblower retaliation occurs when an employer punishes an employee for reporting the employer’s fraud against the federal government. Lawmakers have recognized that whistleblower retaliation is contrary to public policy, so applicable federal laws are extremely protective of employees who blow the whistle on fraud. Whistleblower retaliation can take on many forms, and virtually any form of adverse action or unfair treatment by an employer can constitute illegal retaliation. And although termination of an employee is an obvious example of retaliation, others aren’t quite as blatant. Other actions by employers that may constitute whistleblower retaliation include:
- Workplace harassment
- The creation of an unsafe or hostile work environment
- Employment sanctions or penalties
- Denial of bonuses, benefits, or promotions
Proving Whistleblower Retaliation
When employers retaliate against whistleblowers, they often do so under the pretense of having a legitimate reason for taking certain actions against an employee. However, judges are well aware of this tactic, and whistleblowers are often successful in arguing that the justification of the employer is simply a pretext for retaliation. A whistleblower must do more, though, than demonstrate that he or she suffered poor treatment by an employer after reporting under the False Claims Act.
Rather, a whistleblower claiming retaliation must demonstrate a causal link between the whistleblowing and the employer’s action. At Newman & Shapiro, we can help you with your retaliation case if there is an underlying whistleblower case.
Contact a False Claims Act Attorney
If you’ve faced retaliation for blowing the whistle on fraud pursuant to the False Claims Act, you may be entitled to compensation. However, proving retaliation can be difficult, and if you make any mistakes along the way, you run the risk of receiving nothing. Therefore, if you are a victim of retaliation, it is recommended that you contact a False Claims Act attorney for assistance. Please contact our False Claims Act attorney today for a consultation.