Understanding the Role of a Whistleblower Lawyer: Protecting Whistleblowers’ Rights
Whistleblowers with the use of a whistleblower lawyer play a crucial role in ensuring that entities are held accountable for their actions when they run afoul of statutes like the False Claims Act, Sarbanes-Oxley, Anti-Money Laundering Statutes and many more statutes that economically incentivize individuals to blow the whistle. These individuals who are usually insiders step forward, sometimes anonymously, to report illegal, unethical, or harmful activities, having the courage to do what’s right, sometimes in the face of adversity. However, the process of becoming a whistleblower can be complex, labyrinthine, intimidating and sometimes legally impossible without the help of a whistleblower lawyer such as trying to address systemic Medicare Fraud, Medicaid Fraud, Pharmaceutical Fraud, Customs Fraud, FCPA Fraud and other frauds remedied under the False Claims Act. Further, some statutes allow anonymity with the use of a whistleblower attorney, such as the CFTC whistleblower statute, Anti Money Laundering whistleblower statute, SEC whistleblower statutes, the NHTSA whistleblower statute and a few others. This is where a whistleblower lawyer comes in. In this blog, we will discuss the role of a whistleblower lawyer and how they can help protect the rights of whistleblowers.
What is a Whistleblower Lawyer?
A whistleblower lawyer is a legal professional who focuses a portion of their practice on representing individuals who report illegal or unethical practices in the workplace. They provide legal advice, support, and representation to whistleblowers who want to expose wrongdoing. Whistleblower lawyers also help these individuals navigate the often-complex legal process involved in reporting illegal activities and protect their rights during and after the process. One of the most critical roles of a whistleblower lawyer is to identify early on what statutes, if any, can be invoked to hold the wrongdoer accountable and to defend the rights of the individual blowing the whistle. Most whistleblower statutes contain strong protections for individuals who blow the whistle the right way. Further in qui tam cases where the whistleblower serves as a relator for the government’s claim, the whistleblower can potentially receive up to 50% of the government’s recovery under statutes like The California Insurance Claims Fraud Prevention Act or up to 30% under the more frequently used False Claims Act. Whistleblower law firms like Brown, LLC are very familiar with the False Claims Act, and the firm was rated by Lex Machina as the second most prolific law firm in the space over the last decade. Each year hundreds of millions of dollars go to whistleblowers who blow the whistle properly, so choosing the right route can help obtain justice as well as have economic benefits for the individual whistleblower.
Why Do Whistleblowers Need a Whistleblower Lawyer?
The False Claims Act and some other whistleblower statutes require that a whistleblower use a whistleblower lawyer. In a False Claims Act litigation, the whistleblower (or “relator”) is a proxy for the government, and the government can decide to some extent who can serve as its ambassador with the claim. Therefore, they do not want pro se litigants bringing their own actions, so as to lessen the chance of creating bad law for the government and future whistleblowers. Another extremely important reason why whistleblowers should use a whistleblower attorney is that some statutes enable anonymity with the use of whistleblower counsel, such as blowing the whistle on securities violations (like insider trading), commodities violation (like price fixing), money laundering, and many more. There can be a comfort in anonymity as some whistleblowers face many risks when they step forward to report wrongdoing. They may face retaliation from their employer, including harassment, demotion, or even termination. They may also face legal challenges and penalties, especially if they are reporting on a large, complex, or powerful organization. However, if you consult with some of the best whistleblower law firms, they will ensure your case is kept confidential as long as practicable to allow you to develop an exit strategy. In some circumstances you may even be able to remain anonymous from start to finish.
Most whistleblowers are unfamiliar with the legal process involved in reporting illegal activities. They may not know their rights, the steps they need to take, or the potential consequences of their actions. A whistleblower lawyer can help navigate the legal process and ensure that their rights are protected.
What Does a Whistleblower Lawyer Do?
A whistleblower lawyer provides legal guidance and representation to individuals who want to report illegal or unethical activities. Some of the specific responsibilities of a whistleblower lawyer include:
- Providing legal advice: whistleblower lawyers provide advice to their clients on legal process for reporting illegal and fraudulent activities. They explain the steps the client needs to take, the potential consequences of their actions and the best way to proceed.
- Protecting client rights: Whistleblower lawyers help to protect the rights of their clients during and after the process of blowing the whistle. They work hard to ensure that the client’s rights are not violated, and that they are treated fairly and justly.
- Representing the client: Whistleblower lawyers represent their clients in legal proceedings, including in course or in front of government agencies. They strive to ensure that their client’s rights are protected, and that the client is adequately compensated for reporting illegal activities, sometimes invoking statutes that could enable the whistleblower to obtain millions of dollars in recoveries.
- Negotiating settlements: Whistleblower lawyers may negotiate settlements on behalf of their clients with the entities committing the illegal activities. This can help to resolve things quickly, without the need for a lengthy and costly legal battle. This is particularly true where there is no actual harm to the government, but the individual whistleblower still has rights under a state anti-retaliation statute or some other state or federal whistleblower statute.
How Can Whistleblowers Benefit from Working with a Whistleblower Lawyer?
Whistleblowers who work with a whistleblower lawyer benefit in many ways, including:
- Legal protection: Whistleblower lawyers help protect the rights of their clients during and after the process of reporting illegal activities. They ensure that their clients’ rights are not violated, and that they are treated fairly and justly.
- Confidentiality: Whistleblower lawyers understand the importance of confidentiality in the reporting process. They work to ensure that their client’s identity is protected, and that the information they provide remains confidential.
- Knowledge and experience: Whistleblower lawyers know how to report illegal and fraudulent activity. They can provide their clients with the right roadmap and make sure the client is steered in the route most likely to protect the whistleblower and potentially lead to a recovery.
It is often said in the law that he who represents himself has a fool for a client. If you’re a physician you wouldn’t want to do surgery on yourself; similarly, if you want to blow the whistle and maximize your potential recovery and protect your rights you should consult with a whistleblower lawyer to explore representation. Call Brown, LLC at (877) 561-0000 today for a free, confidential consultation.