Blowing The Whistle On Your Employer

When it comes to being a whistleblower, it can be both rewarding and difficult. Whistleblowers aren’t immediately the most popular people at work and can come under retaliation and ridicule for doing the right thing. Whistleblowers have to have their own set of morals, beliefs and principles and be willing to abide by them.

There are laws that can help whistleblowers, and consulting with a whistleblower attorney can make it possible for a whistleblower to act with a greater sense of what their rights and abilities to obtain an award might be. But being a whistleblower is still a very serious thing to do and it should not be taken lightly by anyone.

Big Decisions Whistleblowers Face

Deciding whether or not to blow the whistle, first and foremost, is a big decision. Obviously, whether they blow the whistle or not is something that they should discuss with counsel. Whether they should report internally or not is a decision. What law they might use to report wrongdoing, which office, under what law to report those are very serious decisions for any whistleblower to make.

A whistleblower shouldn’t be making these decisions alone. There are plenty of attorneys who at least talk initially on a contingency basis so whistleblowers have the opportunity to at least learn the value of some of the information that they have and what office they might want to report it to or what law they might want to use to handle their case.

Can I Still File a Whistleblower Case If…

I Report The Fraud to My Employer First, But They Don’t Do Anything?

Potentially, yes. It depends of course on the facts and whether or not what you are reporting rises to a certain level, for example a fraud committed against the United States or for another example securities fraud. You certainly would have the opportunity to discuss that with a lawyer and see if you have a case you should file under many different whistleblower laws. So potentially yes. Obviously if it is just a frivolous issue that is another matter, but assuming it is a serious concern I would say potentially you should be able to file a case.

I Signed a Non-Disclosure Agreement With My Employer?

Most case law says you can file a whistleblower case. Of course, such law is subject to change and you are going to want to run any agreement you have by counsel prior to reporting anything. There are public policy concerns and reasons that say it is difficult to sign away your rights to be a whistleblower. Securities and Exchange Commission Whistleblower Law, for example, makes it almost impossible to do that and certainly in the sense of a non-disclosure agreement it would be difficult to prevent somebody from filing a False Claims Act case.

Whether or not it helps your ability to collect under the False Claims Act is another issue, but a non-disclosure agreement would not affect your right to tell the government that something is wrong.

Non-disclosure agreements are usually meant to protect trade secrets and marketplace secrets and when you are reporting to the government you really are not taking an action to interfere with the course of business. You are taking an action to report fraud to the government and so you would usually have an argument that you are engaging in protected activity. However, you absolutely want your attorney to review the NDA and discuss the implications of it prior to filing the case of course.