Tips from whistleblowers are crucial in holding those committing unlawful acts in the workplace accountable. Our Houston employment law team explains the role whistleblowers hold in seeking justice.
What is a Whistleblower?
A whistleblower is an insider who reports misconduct or fraud, either internally within their company or outside the organization. It is important to note that whistleblowers take professional, social, and financial risks when choosing to step forward, and the law acknowledges their courage by extending a number of legal protections.
When reporting internally, whistleblowers will be protected from retaliation. With an employer already facing fraud or a similar charge, the last they want is to stack a workplace retaliation case on top of it.
In many cases, whistleblowers can also provide inside information to government agencies and law enforcement. Whistleblowers who choose to go this route should never do so without consulting an attorney before they contact a government agency regarding the case. If they don’t, they may risk their right to recover whistleblower rewards for presenting information that leads to enforcement actions against the perpetrator.
Some of the most common whistleblower cases include:
- Insurance fraud
- Medicare Fraud
- Accounting/tax fraud
- Pharmaceutical fraud
- Government contractor fraud
The Benefit of Blowing the Whistle
It’s an Inside Job
Oftentimes, the best vantage point to uncovering fraud is from the inside of a company itself. Whistleblowers have the ability to report illegal activity that may never otherwise be covered up from something like an external audit.
Not only is the information brought by whistleblowers valuable, but they also lead in reported corporate fraud cases. 42.4% of corporate fraud is detected by tips as opposed to management/internal review, external audits, surveillance, law enforcement, or even by accident.
This goes to show the value of whistleblowers in corporations. Not only are whistleblower victories rewarding for the government in recovering money owed, but 10-30 percent of the recovery is given to the whistleblower, usually leading to large payouts for those that step forward.
The Cost of Fraud to Consumers
Not only do whistleblowers gain personal compensation for reporting fraud, but they also do a service to taxpayers annually. With funding dedicated to stopping corporate fraud costing taxpayers billions every year, whistleblowers help these government agencies save large amounts of funding.
Not only are whistleblowers compensated for speaking out, but they are also given protection by the following programs:
- Civil False Claims Act’s Anti-Retaliation Provision
- Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC)
- Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC)
- Sarbanes-Oxley Act
- Dodd-Frank Act
The reason why these programs are so crucial is because of the risk reporting fraudulent activity poses when done through internal channels. Although protocols may be in place to provide a safe space for employees to voice their concerns, they can also act as tripwires that trigger the attention of the perpetrators, making the assurance of protection important for those considering speaking out.
Get in Touch With Kennard Law, P.C. Today
When someone sees unlawful activity occurring at their job, and choosing to do the right thing, they deserve to be protected to the fullest extent of the law. If your employer is pressuring you to stay silent or has chosen to retaliate against you for filing a report, we are dedicated to ensuring your rights are protected.
If you would like to find out how we can assist you in your whistleblower, contact us today through our website or give us a call at (855) 499-4514 to schedule your consultation today.