Leesburg Whistleblower Attorney
From healthcare fraud to double billing, and defrauding the Department of Defense to committing SEC/Securities fraud, many workplaces are fraught with crimes against the government. If you have recently uncovered a dark truth about your employer’s criminal actions, you may be tempted to sweep your knowledge under the rug. However, this could be the worst thing that you do, as the knowledge may come out despite your hesitance – and if it does, and if it is revealed that you knew about the fraud, you could stand to lose a lot.
On the other hand, people who “tell on” their employers for committing fraud are often retaliated against—in a big way. From termination to harassment, many fraudulent employers are not opposed to scaring whistleblowing or potential whistleblowing employees into “forgetting” their knowledge and standing down from their claims.
If you have recently reported your employer for fraudulent activity, and if your employer has retaliated against you in any number of ways, you are entitled to protection under the Virginia Fraud and Abuse and Whistleblower Protection Act. Consult with the Leesburg whistleblower attorneys of Simms Showers, LLP to learn more about your rights.
Whistleblower Protection Laws
Unfortunately, crime is a huge underlying problem in many companies today—companies ranging in size from small, local establishments to large Fortune 500 corporations. Because these crimes have real impacts on others in the company and out, Congress passed the Whistleblower Protection Act in 1989 to protect employees who discover crime and report it. This act is also meant to encourage employees to report fraudulent behavior without fear of serious repercussions.
Virginia recently strengthened its whistleblower protection laws. While Virginia had a limited case law protection based on public policy for employees discharged for whistleblowing on wrongdoing (Bowman v. State Bank of Keysville, 229 Va. 534 (1985)), there was no general statute on the subject until 2020. (Virginia Code § 40.1-27.3). The new law prohibits employers from taking retaliatory action (including discharge, discipline, threats, discrimination, or action as to compensation, terms, conditions, or privileges of employment) for whistleblower activity.
This whistleblower activity includes when an employee:
Makes a good faith report of a violation of any federal or state law or regulation to a supervisor, governmental body, or law-enforcement official.
Is requested by a governmental body or law-enforcement official to participate in an investigation, hearing, or inquiry.
Refuses to engage in a criminal act that would subject the employee to criminal liability.
Refuses an employer’s order to perform an action that violates any federal or state law or regulation and the employee informs the employer that the order is being refused for that reason.
Provides information to or testifies before any governmental body or law-enforcement official conducting an investigation, hearing, or inquiry into any alleged violation by the employer of federal or state law or regulation.
The law also contains important provisions employees should know regarding what is not protected such as an employee (1) disclosing data protected by law or legal privilege, (2) making a statement or disclosure knowing it is false or in reckless disregard of the truth, or (3) disclosing information in violation of federal or state law as to confidentiality of certain information (such as HIPAA-protected medical information, trade secrets, FERPA-protected education information).
Unfortunately, employers still try to stifle whistleblower claims with lavish rewards, such as money and large bonuses, or retaliatory actions, such as demotion, large pay cuts, or termination. Whether you are approached by your employer with large sums of money, or informed that your services “are no longer required,” when you discover information regarding your employer’s fraudulent activity, the best thing for you to do is to consult with a Leesburg whistleblower attorney regarding your rights.
Whistleblowers must be aware that they may have to act promptly to protect their rights. Whistleblowers only have 1 year to bring a charge of retaliation for protected activity under the Virginia whistleblower statute.
Whistleblower Reward Laws
The Virginia whistleblower statute empowers courts to: (1) enjoin or restrain employer from taking any further retaliatory action, (2) reinstate the employee to the position held before the action or an equivalent position, and (3) require the employer to compensate for lost wages and benefits, plus reasonable attorney fees and costs.
There are also other federal laws that aim to reward whistleblowers, and they work in conjunction with the Whistleblower Protection Act and state counterparts. These laws are:
- The False Claims Act, the goal of which is to reward whistleblowers that expose fraud and dishonesty in government contracting;
- The Internal Revenue Act, the goal of which is to reward whistleblowers that expose tax fraud;
- The Securities and Exchange Act, the goal of which is to reward whistleblowers for uncovering Wall Street Fraud;
- The Commodity Exchange Act, the goal of which is to reward whistleblowers for revealing fraud in the commodities markets; and
- The Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, the goal of which is to reward whistleblowers for exposing international bribery.
If you are whistleblower or are about to become one, contact Simms Showers. The law is on your side. Simms Showers can advise you and help you utilize these shields to protect you when you take the stand against crime or fraudulent business practices.
Contact a Whistleblower Protection Attorney
At Simms Showers, LLP, our whistleblower lawyers aim to protect individuals from retaliation by employers who are guilty of fraudulent activities. If you recently discovered that your employer has been committing fraudulent activities against the government, it is your duty to inform the proper authorities of your findings. However, we understand that you may be hesitant to do so. To protect yourself and your rights as a U.S. employee, retain the help of a Leesburg whistleblower attorney. Contact Simms Showers, LLP at 703-997-7821 to schedule a private consultation with our Leesburg whistleblower attorneys today.