The lawyers at Stavros Law P.C. have significant experience representing whistleblowers who are retaliated against by their employers or who have blown the whistle on fraudulent practices impacting federal or state governments. In addition to seeking recovery for wrongs committed by an employer against an employee for reporting or complaining about illegal behavior, a whistleblower may also bring a qui tam action under the federal False Claims Act (and similar state law provisions) against a person or employer who is submitting a false claim to the government.
Qui Tam and False Claims
The False Claims Act is a federal law that permits an individual to file a lawsuit against parties that are defrauding the government by intentionally submitting false claims such as overbilling for health care services paid by the government or inflating costs and expenses on federal contracts. Individuals who bring false claims act - relators - can recover a percentage of the amount ultimately recovered by the government as a reward for identifying and bringing to light fraudulent practices exposing the government to financial losses. If you expose a false claim, you may be entitled to receive up to 30 percent of the claim's worth. You must be the first to file the claim to receive the reward and you also must have original information concerning the fraud, so it is critical to take action immediately if that is your goal.
In addition to the federal False Claims Act, there are numerous other protections under state and law for whistleblowers. For example, here is a list of some of the federal laws that protect employees against retaliation by their employers for blowing the whistle on wrongful and illegal practices:
Age Discrimination in Employment Act ("ADEA") 29 U.S.C. § 623(d) (prohibits retaliation for complaining about age discrimination)
Americans with Disabilities Act ("ADA") 42 U.S.C. § 12203(a) (prohibits retaliation for complaining about disability discrimination)
Asbestos Hazard Emergency Response Act of 1986 ("AHERA") - Provides employee protection against retaliation for reporting violations of environmental laws relating to asbestos in elementary and secondary school systems, whether public or non-profit private.
Civil Rights Act of 1964 (“Title VII”) 42 U.S.C. § 2000e-3(a) (prohibits retaliation for opposing race, color, national origin, religion and gender discrimination)
Clean Air Act ("CAA") 42 U.S.C. § 7622(prohibits retaliation for reporting environmental violations)
Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act (“CERCLA”)42 U.S.C. § 9610 (prohibits retaliation for reporting environmental violations)
Employee Retirement Income Security Act ("ERISA") 29 U.S.C. § 1132(a)
Energy Reorganization Act of 1978 (ERA) (provides occupational safety and health discrimination protections for employees of nuclear power plants and for employees of contractors working under contract with the U.S. Department of Energy)
Equal Pay Act (EPA) 29 U.S.C. § 206(d)(prohibits retaliation for complaining about gender-based pay discrimination)
Fair Labor Standards Act ("FLSA") 29 U.S.C. § 215(a)(3) (prohibits retaliation for reporting wage and hour violations)
False Claims Act 31 U.S.C. § 3730(h) (prohibits retaliation for reporting government fraud)
Family and Medical Leave Act (“FMLA") 29 U.S.C. § 2615 (prohibits retaliation for exercising leave rights)
Federal Water Pollution Control Act of 1972 (FWPCA) (prohibits retaliation against persons reporting pollution)
International Safety Container Act of 1977 ("ISCA") (protects employees against retaliation for reporting the existence of unsafe shipping containers)
Mine Safety & Health Act ("MSHA") (prohibits retaliation for reporting mine safety violations)
National Labor Relations Act ("NLRA") 29 U.S.C. § 158(a)(4) (prohibits a variety of retaliatory acts for union participation)
Occupational Safety and Health Act ("OSHA") 29 U.S.C. § 660(c) (prohibits retaliation for reporting safety violations)
Pipeline Safety Improvement Act ("PSIA") 49 USC § 60129 (provides retaliation protections for employees who report violations, or alleged of federal law regarding pipeline safety and security or who refuse to violate such provisions)
Safe Drinking Water Act ("SDWA") 42 U.S.C. § 300j-9 (prohibits retaliation for reporting environmental violations)
Sarbanes Oxley Act ("SOX") 18 U.S.C. § 1514A (prohibits retaliation for reporting securities fraud)
Solid Waste Disposal Act ("SWDA") 42 U.S.C. § 6971 (prohibits retaliation for reporting environmental violations)
Surface Transportation Assistance Act ("STAA")(retaliation for reporting transportation safety violations)
Toxic Substances Control Act ("TSCA") 15 U.S.C. § 2622 (prohibits retaliation for reporting environmental violations)
Wendell H. Ford Aviation Investment and Reform Act for the 21st Century ("AIR21") (provides protections to employees and contractors of air carriers who report safety violations)
In addition to the foregoing, there are numerous state laws that provide protections. For example, in Utah the Utah Antidiscrimination Act prohibits retaliation for reporting discrimination or opposing discrimination on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, religion, sexual orientation or gender identity. For state employees, the Utah Protection of Public Employees Act protects government employees from retaliation for reporting, testifying or refusing to carry out a directive that violates federal, state or local law.
For additional information regarding whistleblower laws and protections, or to discuss your specific situation, please call (801) 758-7604 to speak with one of our whistleblower lawyers in Utah or contact us online.
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Stavros Law P.C. is a Utah law firm providing legal services to individuals and businesses in Utah, the Mountain West and across the United States, including Salt Lake City, Draper, Sandy, South Jordan, West Jordan, Lehi, Provo, Orem and Spanish Fork. Our lawyers provide civil litigation, trial and appeal work to clients in federal and state courts throughout the United States. We provide litigation and counseling services for clients in the areas of business and commercial law, employment and labor law, health care law and family law.