NATIONALLY RECOGNIZED FEDERAL LAWYERS
Last Updated on: 4th August 2023, 06:38 pm
Protecting Whistleblowers from Retaliation and Rewarding Them for their Courage
Whistleblower Protection Act (WPA)
In 1989, the Whistleblower Protection Act (WPA) was enacted to shield federal employees acting as whistleblowers from retaliation for exposing governmental waste, illegality, and corruption. This law aims to prevent repercussions against whistleblowers who apply for federal jobs or fallout such as pay cuts, demotions, or replacement of whistleblower employees who serve in any capacity of the federal government. A whistleblower is someone who discloses information about corrupt government activities following due lawful process. They expose activities such as endangerment of public health and safety, violations of laws or regulations prevailing in the workplace, abuse of authority, mismanagement of funds or resources meant for general use and other forms of misconduct like research-related censorship.
The WPA prohibits certain federal employees from taking action against colleagues or employment applicants who receive whistleblower protection under 5 U.S.C. § 2302(b)(8). This provision shields them from adverse actions like being transferred to inconvenient locations or losing job assignments necessary for effective work performance.
Whistleblower Protection Enhancement Act (WPEA)
The fortified Whistleblower Protection Enhancement Act (WPEA) was established in 2012 to strengthen protections for federal whistleblowers. The amended WPEA legislation outlines multiple forms where a whistleblower cannot lose their right to retaliation protection if they take particular forms when reporting illegal activity;
– Disclosures made known to somebody complicit in the reported wrongdoings
– Reported wrongs were shared previously
– Questionable motives exist on the part of a whistleblower
– Disclosure occurred while the employee was not on duty.
– Disclosure occurred while an employee was performing their duties unless it can be demonstrated that personnel action resulted because of that disclosure
– Too much time has elapsed since the occurrence leading up to reported events
Moreover, the WPEA increased penalties for those who violate federal whistleblower protections and created the position of Whistleblower Protection Ombudsman, which educates federal employees about the law’s protection.
Pilot Program to Protect Federal Contractors under NDAA
In 2013, the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) started a pilot program to prevent employees of federal contractors from being demoted or discriminated against because they disclosed information protected by whistleblower laws. This protects whistleblowers among subcontractors, grantees or subgrantees from possible malicious retaliation when engaging in such actions. In 2016, U.S. Congress amended this Act to make these protections lasting.
Based on the 2012 WPEA legislation, a Whistleblower Ombudsman was appointed to educate federal employees about their rights related to protecting disclosures as covered by The Act. Employees are warned that retaliatory measures with adverse effects are illegal and advised of their options if retaliation occurs.
Characteristics of a Good Whistleblower Case
Whistleblowers can file claims based on sound evidence relating to misconduct or fraud carried out by government departments what constitutes a good case? The strongest whistleblower cases are grounded in solid documentation proving serious governmental misconduct or government fraud. Good cases can also be made for whistleblowers who have experienced forms of retaliation after participating in a protected whistleblower activity.
Whistleblower rewards typically float around defrauding large government initiatives where billions of dollars may be at stake. Generally speaking, major false claim suits tend to revolve around issues such as healthcare fraud, Medicaid fraud or billing fraud tied up with federally funded contracts programs amongst others.
Financial Incentives Earned Through Rewards
If you file and win a valid federal whistleblower lawsuit involving fraud against the government, you could receive up to 30% of the total amount recovered by the system attacked by whistleblowers. These rewards can be quite lucrative; in the case of recovering $100 million, you could receive up to $30 million as a reward. Government fraud whistleblowers have received over $2.2 billion in rewards to date.
An experienced federal whistleblower lawyer is well-equipped to determine if your submission qualifies for a reward. Your lawyers will guide you through an array of required steps before submitting your valid claim, including compliance with several legal procedures like filing lawsuits under seal and serving the U.S attorney general while keeping evidence confidential access limited to authorized personnel such as attorneys.
Employer Retaliation Protection
The False Claims Act (FCA) has strict anti-retaliation measures for whistleblowers rightfully exposing federally protected information regarding misconduct or government fraud. If this evolves into actionable discrimination such as job reassignment or termination, aggrieved parties may take personal action by initiating a lawsuit claiming recompense for damages incurred during retaliation of the whistleblower. Some possible recourses which are often granted include recovery of jobs, double amounts matching lost wages, reimbursement of costs relating to litigation and fees accrued from bringing lawsuits, compensation arising from mental and emotional pain suffered during the ordeal and payment for hurt caused on ones reputation.
Effective engagement with issues regarding Whistleblower rights cases can be complicated due to their often-times sensitive legal nature requiring specialized knowledge in conducting such proceedings so contacting experienced federal whistleblower attorneys is strongly recommended if you believe your rights have been impugned, or any retaliatory practices have been initiated against you based on disclosure-related activity that you took part in boldly carrying out the law’s mandates.