Whistleblower statutes have strident mechanisms that protect whistleblowers from retaliation, some overt and some much more subtle like anonymity or initial confidentiality. If you suspect retaliation from your employer as a result of complaining about an illegal or unethical practice, you should consult with a whistleblower lawyer or better yet, if you know that your employer is engaging in illegal or unethical conduct speak with a whistleblower law firm early to learn your rights and the tips and tricks to avoid retaliation altogether. The lawyers at Brown, LLC handle retaliation claims and other whistleblower matters nationwide. Schedule a free, confidential consultation with our whistleblower retaliation lawyers.

What Constitutes Whistleblower Retaliation?

Whistleblower retaliation occurs when an employer fires, demotes, or takes other negative action(s) against a whistleblower (typically an employee, temporary worker, or applicant) which effectively dissuades protected whistleblowing. Retaliation may consist of subtle harms such as excluding an employee from meetings, chilling their speech, or icing them out of the firm entirely. More overt retaliatory include but are not limited to denying benefits, overtime, or promotions; making threats; reducing or changing hours; reassignment; poor working conditions; failure to hire or rehire, reduced pay; termination, chronic interviewing about the same matter as well as other disciplinary activities or harassment. When adverse employment actions occur shortly after the employee makes a direct disclosure to the company or if the whistleblower’s identity is made known when a False Claims Act whistleblower retaliation lawsuit becomes unsealed, there may be a strong inference that it is retaliatory, under the concept in the law known as a “temporal inference,” and the statutory remedies can kick in to protect the whistleblower, even if the respective qui tam case fails.

What Laws Prohibit Retaliation Against Whistleblowers?

Numerous laws prohibit retaliation against whistleblowers. A few state and federal laws with whistleblower anti-retaliation provisions are the SEC Whistleblower Program, the False Claims Act, and California’s Whistleblower Protection Act to name just a few. Almost every whistleblower statute has some sort of anti-retaliation provision. A list of each state’s respective whistleblower statutes and retaliation prohibitions and remedies can be found here. The lawyers at Brown, LLC handle False Claims Act whistleblower retaliation claims and other FCA matters nationwide generally in conjunction with the underlying action. It is critical to have a whistleblower law firm involved in your matter as early as possible. Whistleblowing in a vacuum is not a protected activity unless it’s grounded in a cognizable statute that offers protection and a mechanism to blow the whistle. So, if you think you are blowing the whistle you might end up leading to your own termination at work unless you invoke the correct statute, which may require the best whistleblower law firm to assist you with your matter.

If you believe you have a valid whistleblower claim which could emanate from your information regarding your employer committing:

  • Medicare Fraud
  • Medicaid Fraud
  • SEC Violations Such as Inside Trading or Failure to Advance the Best Interests of the Client
  • Any other multitude of ways in which people or the government are being cheated

You should consult with a qui tam retaliation lawyer and if you suspect there may be repercussions, then a Whistleblower Retaliation Lawyer to find out what your rights are.

The lawyers at Brown, LLC handle Qui Tam Retaliation Claims and other False Claims Act matters nationwide generally in conjunction with the underlying action. The firm is led by former FBI Special Agent Jason T. Brown and his qui tam team who have had amazing victories in the past. The firm is only paid if we win your case so call us at (877) 561-0000 for a free confidential consultation to learn more about your whistleblower rights.


how to Protect Yourself from Whistleblower Retaliation

Should I Report the Misconduct Through the Company’s Internal Compliance Programs

You should always speak with a whistleblower law firm before reporting through an internal compliance program. Almost always, reporting information internally will lead to the employee’s termination no matter what the company says. Unending retaliation generally occurs after an internal report, where the company either tries to blame the employee, lock them into various statements or pester them until they quit and if they refuse to quit then fire them.

SEC Whistleblower Protections – Potential Anonymity

The Dodd-Frank Act created an incentive for insiders to blow the whistle on securities fraud known as the SEC Whistleblower Program. The program is administered by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and potentially rewards and protects any person who wants to blow the whistle on either individuals or entities committing potential violations of federal securities laws. The program gives whistleblowers a private right of action to file a retaliation complaint in federal court and seek double back pay with interest, reinstatement, reasonable attorneys’ fees, and reimbursement for other litigation costs.

For SEC actions filed with a whistleblower lawyer, disclosures can be made anonymously with an attorney’s assistance, so the individual may be able to stay anonymous even from the government itself, albeit they will most likely want to speak with the whistleblower if they have solid information that builds a case. There is a chance for the case to stay confidential from start to finish, with there being a possibility the relator’s (whistleblower) identity is never in the public record at all, and sometimes not even known to the SEC themselves. There are also whistleblower protections from employer retaliation if the individual tries to blow the whistle internally and the company retaliates.

Under Section 21F(h)(1) of the Exchange Act (15 U.S.C. 78u-6(h)(1)), retaliation is prohibited against an individual who had a reasonable belief the information they provided was related to a possible securities law violation and they disclosed the violation in a manner that comports with the other provisions of the Exchange Act. An SEC whistleblower attorney can help you properly make disclosures to help you remain protected from retaliation.

Whistleblower Protection Under the False Claims Act

The False Claims Act (FCA) allows whistleblowers to file suit on behalf of the United States government for fraud against the government and then receive a portion of the recovered funds if the case is successful. This type of lawsuit is often referred to as a qui tam retaliation lawsuit. The FCA’s anti-retaliation provision protects employees, contractors, agents, and other individuals who assist with qui tam action(s) from being retaliated against. More specifically, the law says that an individual can seek compensation if they are “discharged, demoted, suspended, threatened, harassed, or in any other manner discriminated against in the terms and conditions of employment.”

As an initial matter mechanism of protection FCA lawsuits are initially filed confidentially under seal, meaning generally the company is not alerted to the lawsuit or the identity of the whistleblower for many years to come.

Although False Claims Act retaliation claims are often brought as part of a qui tam action, it is also possible to bring a retaliation claim independent of a qui tam retaliation lawsuit. Qui tam relators who have experienced retaliation can file a civil action within three years from the date of retaliation. If you have faced workplace retaliation because of steps you have taken to stop fraud or help an FCA action, consult with a Whistleblower lawyer as soon as possible to learn your rights.

California Whistleblower Protection Act

Under the California Whistleblower Protection Act, employers are prohibited from retaliating against a whistleblower who comes forward with suspected violations of laws, regulations, or public policy. Even if the whistleblower was ultimately wrong about an alleged violation, they can’t be retaliated against as long as they reasonably believed their reports. Like many state whistleblower retaliation provisions, the California False Claims Act’s qui tam retaliation provision reflects that of its equivalent in the federal law. It allows a whistleblower to file a civil lawsuit in federal court against their employer and entitles them to pursue reinstatement with the same seniority status and two times the amount of back pay. It gives whistleblowers the right to receive compensation for lost wages and benefits, litigation costs, attorney fees, emotional distress, and other punitive damages.

New Jersey Conscientious Employee Protection Act

The New Jersey Conscientious Employee Protection Act (CEPA) is the state’s whistleblower law, as stated in New Jersey Revised Statutes Section 34:19-1. It was enacted in 1986 to protect employees from retaliation for reporting illegal or fraudulent activities and employer commitments. This includes disclosing, opposing, or refusing to participate in unlawful conduct, as well as revealing actions that the employee reasonably believes violate the law.

The New Jersey CEPA also protects employees who report any fraudulent or criminal conduct, such as any activity, policy, or practice that the employee reasonably believes may defraud the employer’s shareholders, investors, clients, patients, customers, employees, former employees, retirees, or pensioners, or any government entity.

Employees can file a civil lawsuit against their employer under the New Jersey Conscientious Employee Protection Act within one year of the retaliatory action. Employees are entitled to a jury trial and damages, which include reinstatement to the same or similar job, reinstatement of full fringe benefits and seniority rights, compensation for all lost wages and benefits, compensatory and punitive damages, reasonable costs, and attorneys’ fees.

 How to File a Whistleblower Retaliation Claim

If you are considering blowing the whistle, or if you suspect that you may be subject to repercussions for assisting with a qui tam action, you should consult with a qui tam lawyer or Whistleblower Retaliation Lawyer to learn how to best protect your rights. Our experienced attorneys can discuss your options, the strength of your case, your potential compensation, and help you prepare for any conceivable or actual retaliation. Led by a former FBI Special Agent, our qui tam team have had amazing victories, and our lawyers can help you prove the link between your complaint and your employer’s retaliatory behavior. In most cases, our firm is only paid if we win your case. Call us at (877) 561-0000 for a free confidential consultation to learn more about your whistleblower rights.