Protection for Whistleblowers
Our Utah whistleblower attorneys represent individuals who fight corruption and injustice. It’s not always easy doing the right thing. When you have the courage to speak up, you should be treated fairly. At Christensen & Hymas, we work and live by the values of integrity and compassion. Because of this, we respect the moral integrity and courage of “whistleblowers.” These individuals are willing to stand up against fraud, corruption and corporate wrongdoing no matter the cost.
Stop Fraud and Corruption by Contacting Us Today
Our Utah whistleblower attorneys represent individuals in making claims and those who are retaliated against after making a complaint.
Whistleblower Attorneys – Taking New Cases
Call our Utah personal injury attorneys to help fight corruption and find justice before others come to physical or financial harm. We are taking new cases to help you protect those who could become victims of fraud and corporate wrongdoing.
Has the company you worked for asked you to falsify information to help their interests? Do you know of bribery or underhanded dealings with law-enforcement officers? Is the nursing home you work for overbilling Medicare for care that is not being provided? Please contact us today, and we can assess your situation and explain your legal rights and options.
Have the courage to make a difference by calling our office today. Our experienced attorneys are ready to advocate for you and other victims.
Why Blow the Whistle in Utah?
A person may blow the whistle for a number of reasons. These include but are not limited to:
- Safety Violations and Other Workplace Dangers
- Medical Malpractice and overbilling
- Corporate Corruption
- Racial Discrimination
- Sexual Harassment
- Fraudulent Acts in the Government
There are several laws that protect various types of whistleblowers.
Work-Related Wrongdoings Protected by OSHA
You may file a complaint with the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) if your employer retaliates against you because you engaged in protected activity relating to:
- Workplace safety or health
- Asbestos in schools
- Cargo containers
- Commercial motor carrier
- Consumer product
- Financial reform
- Food safety
- Health insurance reform
- Motor vehicle safety
- Public transportation agency
- Securities laws
Retaliation isn’t just termination. It may include a range of actions that equate to unfair treatment or harassment.
Whistleblower Laws Enforced by OSHA
There is often a short window of time for a complaint to be filed for retaliation. The window may be as short as 30 days in some cases. For this reason, it’s vital to contact an attorney who can help you understand your rights.
OSHA enforces the laws listed below for whistleblowers:
- Asbestos Hazard Emergency Response Act
- Clean Air Act
- Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act
- Consumer Financial Protection Act of 2010
- Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act
- Federal Water Pollution Control Act
- Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act (motor vehicle safety)
- Occupational Safety and Health Act
- Safe Drinking Water Act
- FDA Food Safety
- Modernization Act
- The Affordable Care Act
- Surface Transportation Assistance Act
- Toxic Substances Control Act
- Wendell H. Ford Aviation Investment and Reform Act for the 21st Century
Whistleblower Protection Act
The Whistleblower Protection Act (WPA) seeks to protect individuals who report misconduct or wrongdoings made by a company or organization. This act covers all forms of whistleblowing, including medical malpractice, corporate corruption and fraudulent acts in the government. The purpose is to protect workers who do the right thing and root out fraud in government.
False Claims Act and Qui Tam
The False Claims Act (FCA) was enacted in 1863 after suspicion that supplies provided to the Union Army during the Civil War were defrauding the military. The FCA allows for legal action to be taken against individuals who make false claims to the government. It also penalizes fraud to avoid paying owed money to the government. To violate the FCA, the individual must have actual knowledge that the claim is false or acted with deliberate ignorance or reckless regard of the truth. A Qui Tam action is a lawsuit filed by a private person on behalf of the government for a violation of the FCA. The government is considered the real plaintiff, but the person who brings the claim may receive a share of the award.
Stark Law prohibits certain conflicts of interest in medical care. Self-referral is the practice of a physician referring a patient to a medical facility in which he has a financial interest. The interest may be ownership, investment or a structured compensation arrangement. The physician is essentially working to get more money from the government by referring within their own practices. The Stark Law prohibits self-referrals unless an exception applies.
A whistleblower is someone who speaks up about illicit activity or misconduct. Often, the whistleblower is part of a company involved in medical malpractice, fraud or acts against the government. Statistics highlight the extent of the problem of corruption in government affairs.
According to the United States Department of Labor:
- In 2020, there were 2,539 whistleblower complaints filed relating to OSHA alone. There were 143 cases filed relating to the Sarbanes-Oxley Act.
- Approximately 25% of whistleblower complaints are merited or settled. The rest are dismissed.
- Employees expose 43% of fraud on private organizations. By comparison, auditors uncover only 19% of fraud. (Source: National Whistleblower Center)
- Judgments may amount to more than one million dollars in extreme cases.
- Case filings are spread throughout the United States. Cases may also be filed outside of the United States. The most international reports come from the United Kingdom, Canada and India.
- Approximately 10% of cases come from outside the United States.
What is a whistleblower?
A whistleblower is a person who reports that a company is involved in some form of misconduct. Most whistleblowers are employees of the company.
When should someone blow the whistle?
There are different times someone should blow the whistle if an organization is committing wrongdoing. These can be one or more of the following:
- Employer wrongdoing: safety violation, discrimination, etc.
- Medical Malpractice
- Corporate Corruption
- Fraudulent Acts in the Government
Are you legally protected for blowing the whistle on an organization?
Yes, there are legal protections for those who blow the whistle on government fraud. Various laws protect the whistleblower from retaliation or unfair termination following the uncovering of some form of misconduct. The exact law that applies depends on the type of misconduct being reported. Protection laws encourage people to blow the whistle without fear of losing their job or being retaliated against for doing so.
How can an organization defraud the government?
Organizations can defraud the government by making false financial claims and requests. They may use these claims to ask for compensation or reimbursement under otherwise legitimate government programs. Here are some of the ways that corporate corruption takes place:
- Overbilling the government for goods or services
- Billing for goods or services not provided
- Preparing a false record or false statement to get a fraudulent claim paid
- Making a false statement to avoid paying a debt to the government
- Falsifying research results
- Manipulating procedures, such as upcoding and bundling or unbundling billing codes, to overcharge the government
If a company or its representatives are knowingly seeking to get money from the government by doing any of the above, they are making false claims. A whistleblower may make a report to stop the behavior and hold offenders accountable.
Can you be rewarded for blowing the whistle?
Yes, you can be rewarded if the government recovers any money that the organization has defrauded from the government. Under the False Claims Act, the reporter may receive 15-25% of the funds recovered. If the government declines to intervene and leaves the whistleblower to fully pursue the claim independently, they may receive as much as 30% of the funds recovered.
The court might reduce the award if the whistleblower was part of the fraud to begin with. A successful litigant may also recover their legal fees, which must be paid to the defendant. Payment of legal fees is in addition to the other funds required to be repaid.
What should you do if you see or know of an organization’s misconduct?
Blow the whistle! Government corruption impacts all of society. Christensen & Hymas can help you with your whistleblower case. If you have witnessed government defrauding, you can be compensated for blowing the whistle.
Call (801)506-0800 today for a free consultation of your whistleblower case.
Utah Attorneys for Whistleblower Cases
A corporation engaged in wrongdoing isn’t going to speak voluntarily or offer up information without a fight. However, you can make a stand. Our lawyers for whistleblower cases can help.
We are skilled, experienced and passionate civil litigators. Understanding the rules of procedure and the unwritten rules of the courtroom are critical to success in any complex litigation claim. Our attorneys are prepared to work diligently and in detail until you have justice. We give you honest advice about the claims process and the strength of your case. Then, together, we set about pursuing justice on your behalf.
Learn your Rights. Get Answers. Free.