Whether or not you can file an Employees Fired for Blowing the Whisper lawsuit depends on the circumstances surrounding your termination. The more evidence you can obtain, the more likely it will be that you can prove a causal relationship between the termination and your decision to blow the whistle. Here are some common questions to ask yourself before deciding to file a lawsuit. Let’s start by discussing what constitutes an employee’s wrongful termination.
While a qui tam lawsuit may seem easy to file, it can take years to reach its conclusion. While a good attorney will try to minimize the stress, many whistleblowers eventually get burnt out. The reason is that qui tam claims are filed under seal, which means the defendant is not immediately notified of the pending case. A good lawyer will try to minimize these effects while still maximizing the potential reward for the whistleblower.
To file a qui tam lawsuit, an employee must have blown the whistle against a company that had been guilty of fraud or mismanagement. The whistleblower must be aware that his or her actions had resulted in retaliation and have reasonable grounds for believing that the employer has acted in bad faith. If an employer knows about the whistleblower’s actions, it can be dismissed or fired.
False Claims Act
If you were fired for blowing the whistle for exposing fraud, you can file a False Claims Act lawsuit against your employer. The law protects employees who report fraud for a range of reasons, including retaliation. This means you may be eligible for double back pay and reinstatement, as well as special damages. Before you file a lawsuit, however, you should talk to an attorney about your specific situation.
Under the False Claims Act, employees who uncover fraud against the government may be eligible to file a suit. If the whistleblower successfully sues, he or she can receive anywhere from fifteen to thirty percent of the amount recovered. The award can be significant, sometimes even millions of dollars. In FY 2016, the United States awarded $519 million to whistleblowers.
Protections for whistleblowers
The state in which an employee was fired for blowing the whistle has a general statute that protects whistleblowers from victimization and loss of job. Whistleblowers have a right to speak out when they discover malpractice or illegal activity in their employer’s workplace, and whistleblower laws are intended to protect them from retaliation. Although the state has a specific statute, it is worth consulting an attorney to determine if you may have a case.
Whistleblowers can apply for financial assistance through the False Claims Act. The government may cover up to 15-30 percent of the penalty, plus their legal fees. Under the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002, corporate employers must provide an anonymous complaint procedure for employees. Retaliation against employees is punishable by up to ten years in prison and fines.
Time limits for filing a wrongful termination lawsuit
While it’s not uncommon for employers to retaliate against an employee who has blown the whistle, there are strict time limits on filing a wrongful termination lawsuit against an employer. Depending on the circumstances, you may have as little as six months to file a claim. If you think you have grounds to sue, contact a lawyer right away to discuss your legal options.
Some states have time limits for filing a wrongful termination lawsuit, or a related administrative complaint. These deadlines can vary widely, but they generally start running as soon as an employee is terminated. The statute of limitations generally allows a defendant to repose once the time limit has passed. While many cases are handled through a mediation or arbitration process, it’s worth consulting an employment lawyer as soon as you feel that you have been wrongfully fired.
Evidence needed to prove retaliation
In many instances, retaliation is difficult to prove with direct proof, so plaintiffs must show that the termination had a “causal relationship” to the employee’s whistleblowing activity. In some cases, such evidence can come in the form of negative job references or blackballing. The courts have ruled in recent cases that such evidence is sufficient if there is a short lag in time between the employee’s whistle-blowing and the employer’s response.
In some cases, retaliation can occur because an employee reported a violation to the EEOC. However, there is a difference between a complaint filed by an employee and a firing as long as the employee had a reasonable belief that the violation was taking place. If the employee is fired within a week or a month of reporting the violation, the employer was likely guilty of retaliation.