Whistleblowers in America are protected by laws as the government finds individuals reporting fraud and other illegal internal issues as extremely important to keep the balances in check. Whistleblowers may identify and report actual theft, false claims, over billing, up coding, unbundling, kickbacks, false certifications, violations of governmental regulations, destruction of company records, workplace violence, safety hazards or unsafe working conditions, environmental concerns, substance abuse, general conflicts of interest, release of proprietary information and other types of fraud or occupational concerns. Some of the governmental agencies and laws that protect whistleblowers include: . Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) . Civil Rights Act of 1866, which has been amended througout the years .
Federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) . Federal False Claims Act . Occupational Safety and Health (OSH) Act of 1970 Under the OSH Act of 1970, employers may not discharge or in any manner discriminate against any employee because an employee has filed any complaint, or instituted or caused to be instituted, any proceeding under or related to this Act. Additionally, the employer may not terminate an employee who has testified, or is about to testify, in any such proceeding. Under the Act, an employee who believes that a work hazard exists, whether or not they have filed a claim, has legal protection to refuse to work if all of the following apply: .
The employee faces death or serious injury and the hazard is so clear that a reasonable person would agree with the seriousness of the hazard. . The situation is so urgent that there is not time to eliminate the hazard through regulatory channels. . The employee has tried to get the employer to correct the dangerous condition and they have not complied.
OSHA also administers the whistle blowing provisions of thirteen other statutes, protecting employees who report violations of various trucking, airline, nuclear power, pipeline, environmental and securities laws. The Federal False Claims Act provides the legal framework for claims alleging fraud against the federal government, and it does several important things for a whistleblower: . Provides specific protection for the whistleblower from discharge, demotion, suspension, threats or other harassment or discrimination that the whistleblower may encounter due to lawful actions taken in the furtherance of a whistleblower claim, if the employee is still works for the employer.
. This allows only one complaint under seal, which basically means that no one will know about the complaint until it has been investigated, even the defendent. . Allows the whistleblower to share in the government's successful recovery, from 15% and up to 25% of the entire recovery, in some cases. Eleven states and the District of Columbia also have their own false claims acts that closely resemble the Federal Act. Whistleblower laws allow for the contingent fee representation of whistleblowers.
The Federal False Claims Act also provides that a whistleblower's attorney's fees be paid by the entity that committed the fraud in the event of a government recovery. If the case is succesful, then there are no expenses or monetary costs to the employee. Anyone who knows of fraud against the government can become a whistleblower. Usually it is employees or ex-employees who report fraud of a corporation because they have the most knowledge of internal operations. There can only be ONE whistleblower claim based on certain information.
The first to file based on specific information about a particular fraud preempts other whistleblowers and their claims. In addition, an employee cannot bring a whistleblower complaint if information about the fraud becomes public before bringing a claim.
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