Is It a Good Idea to Become a Whistleblower in 2020?

Is It a Good Idea to Become a Whistleblower in 2020?

What does a person do when they see wrongdoing going on where they work? Government employees have an especially difficult time when they want to report wrongdoing. Working in the private sector does not make reporting crime much easier. Those who report wrongdoing are called whistleblowers and serve a valuable purpose in our American society. But, whistleblowers can suffer reprisals for their actions. Reporting crimes and fraud is a difficult decision and should be backed up with legal advice and protections.

Some Types of Whistleblower Actions Handled by Law firms.

A law firm with experience in whistleblower complaints can be helpful. Seeking help from or other law firms is a good start. Whistleblower actions fall into certain categories:

Qui Tam action is a report of information concerning the government being defrauded This can be by a private company or an individual.

The Foreign Corrupt Practices Act or the Securities Exchange Act

Medicare Fraud

Tax Fraud

SEC Fraud. SEC whistleblowers may be eligible for rewards if their information was come by independently and not previously disclosed to the SEC. There must be a recovery of more than $1 million.

The law firm will help the person determine what type of complaint they should make and all the rules and time limits that apply to each one. There are many government laws and departments that accept whistleblower complaints and it is important to choose the correct one. In addition to choosing the correct place to lodge a complaint, the person must be protected from reprisals by their employers.

How Are Whistleblowers Protected?

There are multiple Federal and state laws that protect whistleblowers from harm and retaliation from their employers such as wrongful discharge or firing. But without the help of a lawyer, they can be difficult to understand and benefit from. Employees are protected from a wide range of disclosures such as violations of the law, wastefulness, mismanagement, sexual harassment, dangers to the public and employees in health and safety, and more.

The protections include prohibitions from employers firing, demoting, reassigning or failing to promote the whistleblower. The employers are also forbidden from taking discriminatory action against the person. There are other ways a whistleblower can be harmed such as threats, name-calling, and hostile work environment that a law firm can address.

Can a Whistleblower Recover Financial Losses?

A law firm can represent a whistleblower throughout the reporting process and into a loss recovery action. Many of the whistleblower protection laws have rules that allow people to sue for lost wages, past and future, litigation costs, attorney fees, compensatory damages, bounties, and punitive damages. This type of lawsuit can take months or years to go through the court system. Having good legal help is essential here.

How to Safely File a Whistleblower Report

When things are happening where a person works that seem wrong, there is a correct way to file a report. It is important to confirm that the actions are legally wrong, collect good evidence that the actions are happening, hire a law firm to help file the report, file the complaint under seal, help the government with their investigation, and wait for the process to be completed.

To decide how to disclose wrongdoing a person can contact a government Ombudsman at to get information about the complaint process. They can also file a complaint with the Office of Special Counsel. Some of the complaints or reports to file include:

  • Report fraud
  • Child support enforcement
  • Contract fraud
  • Consumer alerts
  • Tax fraud
  • Grant fraud
  • Medicaid or Medicare fraud
  • SEC fraud
  • Qui Tam reports of government being defrauded
  • Other whistleblower reports

The reporting has to be done correctly for the whistleblower to be protected from lawsuits or retaliation by their employer. Seeking legal help is the best way to safely make a report of wrongdoing by an employer or other entity.

When an Employer Tries to Retaliate

If a person filed a whistleblower report correctly, exercising their rights under the whistleblower protection laws enforced by OSHA and then suffered retaliation from their employer anyway, there is hope. A law firm can help the whistleblower file a complaint with OSHA. It is important to have help to meet appropriate time limits of 30, 60, 90, and 180 days depending on the type of whistleblower report, which government agency it was lodged with, and when the adverse action toward the employee was taken.

When a complaint is filed, OSHA conducts interviews, obtains information from the employer and witnesses as needed, and judges all the evidence. If the evidence supports the whistleblower’s complaint, OSHA will take action including requiring the employer to restore the person’s job, earnings, and benefits. The employer may also be required to grant other needed relief.

The law firm representing the whistleblower may also choose to bring a civil lawsuit against the employer to recover more financial losses.

Whistleblowers are heroes in today’s society. They play a very important part in keeping our government honest, accountable, and efficient. Whistleblowers help to find waste, fraud, and abuse in companies and government agencies. They help protect public health and safety as no one else can. This is why the government encourages employees to report wrongdoing and gives them protection under the law.

Submitting a complaint through the OIG Hotline for abuse, waste, or fraud is a good thing. Getting legal help to draft and file the report is a very good idea. When we submit a report of fraud or waste in a safe, way we help a lot of people and stop some really bad people from continuing their crimes. Because of the importance of a job and income to each person, this decision will not be an easy one, but it is a very important one.

If a person is reluctant to be a whistleblower in 2020, collect the evidence of the wrongdoing and talk to the government ombudsman or a lawyer to see what the options are to get the important information out without there being too much risk to the person reporting the information. Each person in this situation must make their own choices and protect themselves with legal representation.


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