There are many laws that provide whistleblowers with the opportunity to sue for retaliation. Included in these laws is the right to sue for retaliation if someone has complained about fraud committed against the government. It is also possible to sue for retaliation for reporting securities fraud. These laws provide some opportunity to those who retaliates against the whistleblower.
However, it can be a little bit tricky for people to understand what the phrase “whistleblower protection” entails. They may think that there is some cloak that can come down and prevent retaliation against a whistleblower, but that is not the case. Mostly, these laws provide individuals with the right to sue after experiencing retaliation
It’s an imperfect option, because while you can certainly sue for retaliation, you, unfortunately, don’t have immediate protection from retaliation. It is possible under some laws, like the SEC Whistleblower Law and the CFTC Whistleblower Law, to report fraud anonymously, and those agencies have been pretty good about protecting whistleblowers’ identities from the public. So that may afford the whistleblower additional protections, but of course the type of allegations they make have to sit within those offices’ jurisdictions. To learn more about what protections are afforded to whistleblowers, schedule a consultation with a hardworking DC attorney.
What is “Protected Whistleblower Activity?”
Protected whistleblower activity is really something that falls under a statute that protects a whistleblower for reporting or acting to prevent fraud. The statues protect whistleblower activity for reporting safety violations in certain situations under many regulatory schemes and laws.
Reporting fraud to the government is another protected whistleblower activity. So, there are a myriad of statutes that provide jurisdiction for individual kinds of whistleblower activity, and which, may give rise to the type of activity that one could sue the defendant for taking against a plaintiff or even just somebody who wants to report wrongdoing.
Limitations on Filing
The statutory periods for whistleblower cases varies. Under the Federal False Claims Act, there is a three-year statute of limitations for suing for retaliation, which is different from the statute limitations of the underlying fraud.
It used to vary by state to state. Congress felt that that was unwieldy and amended False Claims Act §3730(h) to have a three-year statute of limitations for retaliation claims, which is different than for any underlying claim regarding fraud committed against the government.
Discuss the Types of Protections You Can Receive as a Whistleblower with an Attorney
Under the False Claims Act, two times back pay, reinstatement damages, special damages, and attorney’s fees are the standard remedies for retaliation against a whistleblower. Usually, that gets a little tricky with reinstatement, because at that point, as you might imagine, it is rare that somebody actually gets reinstated. It’s usually something to consider in terms of what such reinstatement would be worth financially.
Nevertheless, understanding what protections are afforded to whistleblowers might make the difference when choosing whether or not to blow the whistle on fraud or other illegal activity.