Whistleblowers report fraud to protect the government, taxpayers, citizens, but what laws protect whistleblowers? It is important for whistleblowers to know these laws and their rights to safeguard against retaliation. Deciding what law to report retaliation under is the most important decision. A whistleblower attorney will assist their clients in this decision making process.
The answer to this question varies depending on:
- the type of retaliation the whistleblower suffered
- if the whistleblower is being retaliated against for reporting fraud
- what state the whistleblower was retaliated against in
- what type of fraud the whistleblower reported
- if the whistleblower filed a lawsuit
There are various laws that protect whistleblowers depending on the circumstances.
Whistleblower Protection Programs
There are a number of administrative programs and regulations that provide protection for whistleblowers. For example, the “Whistleblower Protection Program” allows whistleblowers to file a complaint if his/her employer retaliates against him/her for exercising their rights as an employee. A complaint can be filed both federally and at the state level.
False Claims Act Whistleblower Protection Provisions
If the whistleblower is reporting fraud against the government, there are additional laws that protect whistleblowers. The retaliation provisions in the False Claims Acts are some of the strongest whistleblower protection provisions in the United States. These whistleblower protection provisions or “section h” claims provide damages and, in some cases, reinstatement.
The SEC Whistleblower Act
The main whistleblower protection provided for in the SEC whistleblower Act is the ability to file a case anonymously. Many whistlebowers are scared to report fraud because they might get fired and/or blackballed from the financial industry. The whistleblower protections int eh SEC Whistleblower Act allow whistleblowers to report fraud and receive an award anonymously to prevent the retaliation.
State Laws Protect Whistleblowers
State-specific laws also protect whistleblowers. The laws differ depending on the state the whistleblower is retaliated against in. For example, New Jersey has a very strong whistleblower protection law. The law is called the “Conscientious Employee Protection Act”, or CEPA. CEPA prohibits employers from retaliating against an employee who reports fraud.
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