Federal and state whistleblower laws have been put in place to protect employees from suffering retaliation after reporting an employer’s legal violation or breach of public trust. In California, both public and private employees are protected under whistleblower laws. If you want to bring this kind of claim or you’re concerned about retaliation, a seasoned El Segundo whistleblower attorney can help you navigate the legal system.Whistleblower Claims
Whistleblowers are employees who report legal violations or fraud by employers. The violation may be one that harmed the employee directly, such as a sexual harassment claim. However, the violation could involve breaches of securities law, safety regulations, or fraud against the government. There are multiple federal statutes that protect different kinds of whistleblowers, including the Dodd-Frank Act, the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002, the Consumer Products Safety Act of 2008, the Food Safety Modernization Act of 2010, and the Whistleblower Protection Act. There are also California laws that protect whistleblowers, including the California False Claims Act and the California Whistleblower Protection Act.California False Claims Act
The California False Claims Act permits whistleblowers to file qui tam lawsuits if they become aware that a government entity at the local, county, or state level is being defrauded. It is a civil offense under this law for entities to knowingly submit fraudulent or false claims for payment to the government. Qui tam actions may involve Medicaid fraud, fraud related to goods and services, and fraud related to construction projects. You only have 6 years, in most cases, to file a qui tam complaint. A knowledgeable whistleblower attorney in El Segundo can advise you regarding this and any other relevant deadlines in your case.
The fines imposed in a qui tam action may be a maximum of 3 times the actual harm to the government, as well as a fine of $5,500-$11,000 for each California False Claims Act violation. There are also protections for whistleblowers who face retaliation from their employers.
When funds are recovered due to a whistleblower’s claim, the whistleblower rewards will be 15-30% of the recovery obtained. When the local or state government doesn’t intervene and the whistleblower has successfully pursued the lawsuit on their own, the rewards go up to 25-50% of what’s recovered.California Whistleblower Protection Act
The California Whistleblower Protection Act, California Government Code section 8547.1, prohibits retaliation against an employee that reports federal or state violations to a government official or the police. It provides that employees should be free to report fraud, waste, abuse of authority, legal violations, or threats to the public without fearing retribution.
The law also prohibits retaliation against an employee who reports a suspected violation within an organization or a public body that’s in the process of investigating or conducting a hearing. In addition to employers, anybody acting on behalf of an employer can be liable under California whistleblower claim laws. Those who disclose violations can be protected even though the disclosure is not part of their job duties. A dedicated El Segundo whistleblower attorney can help you determine who the potentially liable parties in your case may be.
To show whistleblower retaliation, you’ll need to prove: (1) an employer-employee relationship, (2) adverse employment action, and (3) protected conduct. An employee’s protected conduct must have been a substantial factor in an employer’s decision to take an adverse employment action. Adverse employment actions that could constitute retaliation include threats, demotions, terminations, coercions, or other conduct committed for reprisal. Protected conduct includes good faith communications that reveal an improper governmental action or warn of noteworthy threats to health or safety. If you are successful in showing retaliation, you may be able to obtain reinstatement, double back pay, interest, and special damages. In some cases involving egregious misconduct, punitive damages may be available.Retain a Seasoned Whistleblower Attorney in El Segundo
If you need to pursue a whistleblower claim in El Segundo, it’s advisable to talk about your circumstances with a skilled employment lawyer at the Calderone Law Firm. Our firm represents clients in a wide range of lawsuits, and we provide aggressive legal representation. Call us at (424) 348-8290 or complete our online form.