Whistleblower Law

Whistleblower Attorney in Altamonte Springs, FL

When you are at work, you are expected to follow the law and behave under your company’s rules and regulations. In turn, you expect your employer to do the same. What do you do, though, when you find out that your workplace is violating those laws, rules, and regulations? What steps should you take when you uncover fraudulent activity? It’s time for you to become a whistleblower. Read below for a better understanding of whistleblower law and whistleblowing in the workplace.

What is Whistleblowing?

Whistleblowing is when you report an organization’s wrongdoing to a person in a position to fix it. According to Oversight.gov, that wrongdoing includes “gross mismanagement; gross waste of funds; an abuse of authority; a substantial and specific danger to public health or safety; or a violation of law, rule, or regulation.” If you want to be a whistleblower, then typically it would be for an organization you work at, but this doesn’t have to be the case — you can file a report to any organization that you see committing a severe offense. 

Once you make a whistleblower report, ideally the organization will investigate your concerns, correct the wrongdoing, and publicly hold themselves accountable. Through that process, you should never be blamed or punished — either for committing the initial offense or for making the report. But this isn’t always the case. Far too often, you will encounter illegal retaliation from your employer that violates your worker’s rights.

Avoid Costly Mistakes with Representation from a Central Florida Whistleblower Lawyer

Whistleblower law cases are notoriously complex, falling under any number of acts, programs, provisions, and protections. On top of that, one wrong move and you may be facing unjust consequences. It’s important to hire a lawyer who can help you navigate your unique situation. At éclat Law, Kevin Ross-Andino learns the ins and outs of your case so that he and his team can provide specialized legal representation tailored to your needs. We support and protect you from any potential fallout and deal with all the red tape, so you can focus without fear on what matters most — fighting for the truth.

We Can Walk You Through Any Type of Whistleblower Case

Ultimately, our goal is to see justice served and make sure your employer is held accountable for any wrongdoings. Whether you’re filing a False Claims Act case or reporting a violation of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act, we can help. Our experienced Central Florida whistleblower attorneys understand the complexities of whistleblowing and whistleblower law, and will fight for your rights. Some of the cases we can help you navigate include, but are not limited to:

Whistleblower Retaliation

If your employer retaliates against you for reporting wrongdoing, it’s important to know that whistleblower protection laws exist to protect workers like you. Dozens of acts and programs exist to cover workers who report a wide range of issues in a wide range of industries including the federal government, the railroad industry, nuclear energy, the consumer financial products industry, and more. With whistleblower retaliation cases, our legal team can help make sure you are protected, and your rights are upheld.

OSHA Whistleblower Protection Program:

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) promotes safe workplaces by protecting employees from whistleblower retaliation for reporting unsafe working conditions or other safety violations. There are over twenty different statutes meant to protect whistleblowers after making reports related to environmental protection, transportation services, workplace safety, health insurance reform, financial issues, and more. Some of these include:

  • Safe Drinking Water Act: Under a federal law called the Safe Drinking Water Act, citizens can report their employer if they’re aware of violations that put drinking water at risk. This includes any form of public water supply, such as a well or reservoir. Citizens and employees who report potential violations are protected from retaliation and should be supported by their employers.
  • FDA Food Safety Modernization Act: The FDA Food Safety Modernization Act protects whistleblowers who identify violations related to food safety. This could include issues with contaminated food, unsafe production practices, and more. Whistleblowers reporting under this act are protected from any form of retaliation or discrimination for making the reports.
  • Sarbanes-Oxley Act: The Sarbanes-Oxley Act helps protect whistleblowers from corporate fraud or accounting violations. The act requires companies to put in place a system for reporting any unethical activity, and a whistleblower must be able to come forward without fear of retaliation. Any employee who reports any form of corporate misconduct is protected from any form of retaliation or discrimination.

Whistleblower Protection Act:

The Whistleblower Protection Act protects federal employees in non-intelligence departments of the government from whistleblower retaliation if they report their department’s wrongdoing or illegal activities. This includes any form of financial misconduct, mismanagement, environmental violations, and other violations of law, rule, or regulation. These disclosures may be limited by what is allowed to become public knowledge, but the Whistleblower Protection Enhancement Act clarified that disclosures made off-duty, not in writing, to a supervisor, or of previously known information are protected. The act ensures that whistleblowers have the legal right to report such activities without fear of being fired or demoted.

False Claims Act

The Federal False Claims Act (FCA) was enacted during the Civil War to protect the United States government against fraud by contractors serving the military. Thanks to bold amendments made in 1986, it now protects the government against a broad range of fraud. Through something called the qui tam provision, the FCA allows private individuals to be whistleblowers, authorizing them to file a lawsuit on the government’s behalf against anyone who has submitted false or fraudulent claims for payment, including individuals and companies. If the government recovers money because of a successful lawsuit, the whistleblower is entitled to a percentage of the recovery; successful suits will result in whistleblowers receiving 15-30% of the damages recovered by the government. The FCA also protects whistleblowers from retaliation by their employers, such as being fired or demoted.

State FCAs

Many states have false claims acts similar to the federal FCA which may provide compensation to qui tam whistleblowers who file suit on behalf of their state government. However, whistleblowers must pay close attention to individual state statutes because each act has its own requirements. In Florida, for example, there are provisions for defendants who “unknowingly” made an “innocent mistake,” and for reduction of damages if defendants cooperate fully.

SEC Whistleblower Program

The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) Whistleblower Program was implemented in 2010 as part of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, which was created to address the 2008 financial crisis. The program offers a substantial reward to any whistleblower who submits “original information” to the SEC about securities violations leading to the recovery of $1 million or more. Whistleblowers may be United States or foreign citizens, they may or may not be industry insiders, and they may submit complaints or tips anonymously through an attorney.

What are the Benefits and Risks?

By speaking up against wrongdoing, whistleblowers play an invaluable role in creating a better future for us all. They are doing the right thing, not just for themselves but for society as a whole. This is why whistleblower laws exist in the first place. Whistleblowing can have far-reaching positive effects, encouraging greater transparency and trust in our public institutions. It can bring justice to those affected and make organizations accountable for their actions or inactions. In the modern world, where accountability and responsibility are key, whistleblowers coming forward with information play an essential role in bringing corporate and governmental misconduct to light. Whistleblowers should be rewarded for their bravery in speaking up, not ostracized or punished. This is why it’s important to understand whistleblower law to know where you stand.

However, whistleblowing does carry heavy risks like ostracization, punishment, and more. Whistleblowers may face a variety of retaliation from their employers, ranging from demotion and termination to smear campaigns and harassment. In some cases, whistleblowers can also be subjected to overwhelming public scrutiny and may have difficulty finding another job in their field. Additionally, potential legal risks may come in the form of libel or slander lawsuits. You may even experience burdensome emotional risks such as guilt for speaking out against a colleague or boss and disillusionment about the lack of progress or unfulfilled expectations of how your whistleblowing will be addressed.

All the above reactions are typical, and it is important to find ways to manage these possibilities. One way to do this is to reach out for emotional support from family and friends or access professional counseling services. It can also be helpful to create a plan for reference and assurance throughout your whistleblowing process. Most importantly, involve a legal professional to help guide your decisions, protect your rights, and ensure that the steps you take comply with the whistleblower law. You should remember that there is strength in speaking up and that you are part of a community of people who understand the risks and rewards associated with whistleblowing.

Protect Yourself While Exposing the Truth — Contact Us Today for a Free Consultation

Have you encountered fraud, negligence, or misconduct in the workplace? Kevin Ross-Andino is an experienced attorney who focuses on providing whistleblower representation for individuals and companies. He seeks justice for those who have been wronged and help them receive monetary awards from the government. éclat Law’s attorneys specialize in cases involving False Claims Act, Qui Tam Provisions, the Securities and Exchange Commission Whistleblower Program, and more — we work hard to make sure our clients’ voices are heard! Whistleblowers often face an uphill battle when it comes to protecting their rights and getting justice served. With Kevin and éclat Law on your side, you don’t have to go it alone; we will fight diligently on your behalf so you can rest assured knowing that your interests are being looked after by seasoned professionals who understand whistleblower law and know how to navigate these complex legal matters effectively.

Call us at 407-636-7004 or contact us online to set up a free and confidential consultation, so we can discuss the details of your particular situation and begin working towards obtaining a successful outcome for you!