What If I Get Fired For Being a Whistleblower?
First of all we are sorry. There is nothing worse in professional life than getting fired. It is especially traumatic to get fired precisely because you told your bosses about something obviously wrong. You probably trusted your boss and your co-workers and now it appears that trust was misplaced. It is hard to know who to trust now. It is not our business, but it is possible that someone in this position may need additional professional help.
Indeed, many of our clients all tell us that before they got fired for being a whistleblower they thought stress was a joke, and that you should not be able to sue for it. Now they think differently about that idea.
How a False Claims Act Lawyer Can Help With Being Fired for Being a Whistleblower
Having said all that, we are lawyers and not therapists. We are not equipped to help you in that way. What we can do is advise your of your right to sue for retaliation or wrongful termination. How you sue and what evidence you may have are issues to discuss with your lawyer.
If you have a False Claims Act case then you may be able to sue as part of that case. If you have suffered retaliation, because of any reports you made regarding the idea that the government was harmed, you may have an action under that law’s section 3730(h). State laws allow for similar claims.
You could sue for double back pay, reinstatement and special damages. If you have a good False Claims Case and you were fired, it is likely that your lawyer will want to handle that allegation that way. It can be a little difficult in the sense that when you are filing a False Claims Case you will have to keep the case confidential. That can offend some whistleblowers who want to go public with all their allegations. Still, the right to recover for retaliation under the False Claims Act is well settled under law. If you have suffered retaliation under these circumstances it can make sense to incorporate the allegation as part of a False Claims Act case.
Other Ways a Lawyer Can Help
If you were fired for another reason or you do not have a False Claims case, you still may have an employment law claim under other laws. Lawyers will still ask you questions about why you were fired.
Don’t be offended by the questions your prospective attorney asks about any of this. It may be hard for you to talk about, but your lawyer needs to know as much as possible about the circumstances to advise you. You may decide that suing for retaliation is the most important aspect of your case or that part of your case is harder to prove. You may decide that it is more important to try to stop the underlying practices which you complained about in the first place. These are all issues to consider. At least, under the Federal False Claims Act if you have a case of the government being defrauded and you were retaliated against for taking action against it, you have the right to sue for retaliation and at the same time attempt to obtain a share of any recovery the government makes based on your allegations.