Contact our Georgia national whistleblower lawyers today. Call us at 770-643-1606

Judge v. Jury: $350 Million Medicare Award at Stake in Atlanta

Whistleblower attorney Mike Bothwell was a tops quoted source in the article below:

Full Article Link

The invalidation of a Florida jury’s nearly $350 million Medicare fraud verdict wasn’t only frustrating for whistleblower Angela Ruckh and her attorneys. It may have also seriously hurt plaintiffs’ ability to fight alleged fraud in the southeast U.S.

Ruckh Nov. 20 will urge the Eleventh Circuit in Atlanta to reinstate the award, which a district judge tossed after concluding she failed to satisfy U.S. Supreme Court standards for demonstrating materiality in a False Claims Act case. The federal government is supporting her appeal.

The judge misconstrued ample evidence of materiality, Ruckh says. Rejecting her appeal could do great harm to the ability of FCA whistleblowers and the federal government to raise a valid case, whistleblower attorneys say.

The decision by Judge Steven Merryday of the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Florida “takes the most conservative and defense-oriented” view of Supreme Court standards for raising false claims cases, said Mike Bothwell of Bothwell Law Group P.C. in Roswell, Ga.

Prosecution of FCA cases will become “infinitely harder” if the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit affirms, he said.

In 2018, the U.S. recovered $2.8 billion from FCA cases, $2.5 billion of which came from cases involving the healthcare industry.

Ruckh convinced a jury in February 2017 that Medicare wouldn’t have paid Consulate Health Care, a nursing home services provider, if Medicare knew the truth about the Consulate’s practice of “ramping,” which misleads Medicare as to the necessity of services, and “upcoding” for services which led to overbilling.

Merryday tossed the verdict nine months later, ruling that the alleged misconduct wasn’t material to government payment decisions under the Supreme Court’s 2016 ruling in Universal Health Servs., Inc. v. United States ex rel. Escobar.

That is, Ruckh didn’t offer meaningful proof that Medicare’s knowledge of the disputed practices was consequential to payment decisions, Merryday concluded.

Medicare knew about the allegations and continued to pay anyway, he said.

“We don’t want every administrative failure by a contractor to be an FCA case, but when you have facts like these, where folks are receiving unnecessary services, how is that not leading to inflated, unnecessary claims,” said Pamela Coyle Brecht of Pietragallo Gordon Alfano Bosick & Raspanti LLP in Philadelphia.

“Medicare has a pay and chase system. The U.S. doesn’t examine every claim in real time. It is entitled to rely on the truthfulness of a claim submitted by a contractor, and then attempt to recoup fraudulent payments at a later date,” she said.

“It undermines the entire purpose of the FCA to say that payments to a contractor, that turn out to be fraudulent, require dismissal of cases for lack of materiality,” she said.

Consulate says materiality was indeed lacking because Ruckh offered no evidence that Medicare had overlooked any alleged deficiencies in audits before deciding to continue paying.

“If the government thought the alleged violations were material, why would they keep paying the claims? There are a host of cases now where the government ‘knowledge’ defense has been successfully raised,” said Aaron Danzig of Arnall Golden Gregory LLP in Atlanta.

‘Wild, Wild West’

The verdict should be reinstated because Ruckh introduced more than enough evidence to show that higher therapy levels lead to increased payments, and using false therapy codes has a natural tendency to influence payments, her brief says.

The U.S. Justice Department supports Ruckh, stating in a brief that materiality for her claims is “obvious,” and that “it is difficult to see how any reasonable jury could have concluded otherwise.”

Brecht said it’s “currently the wild, wild west with regard to the materiality defense, and I would hope that the Supreme Court would shed more light on this issue.”

“There are many reasons why the government would continue to pay a contractor that don’t have to do with excusing fraud,” Brecht said.

More litigation will result if the Eleventh Circuit affirms, “because whistleblowers will be forced to get more aggressive in discovery,” Brecht said. “They will be forced to say I need to know more about what the government knew about defendants’ practices and when it knew it.”

Defendants naturally will be pleased if Merryday’s ruling is affirmed.

But in the event the Eleventh Circuit sides with Ruckh, the silver lining for defendants could come in the form of another materiality case working its way back to the high court’s door.

Several defendants since Escobar have unsuccessfully petitioned the Supreme Court to adopt a clear “no harm, no foul” rule with regard to continued payments. There can’t be any fraud if the government knows but pays, the petitions have argued.

Merryday’s opinion cited one of those continued payment cases, United States ex rel. Harman v. Trinity Indus. Inc.

The Fifth Circuit ruled in that case that a $663 million jury verdict couldn’t stand because the Federal Highway Administration always paid for and approved of a highway guardrail contractor’s product despite knowledge of alleged wrongdoing.

To contact the reporter on this story: Daniel Seiden in Washington at dseiden@bloomberglaw.com

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Jo-el J. Meyer at jmeyer@bloomberglaw.com; Patrick L. Gregory at pgregory@bloomberglaw.com

Whistleblowerlaw.com & Mike Bothwell Lawfirm does not claim or imply ownership of this article. Full article link here: https://news.bloomberglaw.com/federal-contracting/judge-v-jury-350-million-medicare-award-at-stake-in-atlanta

Trump & our thoughts on why we should protect Whistleblowers

USA Today recently published the following article “Trump’s allies want to ID the whistleblower, who may learn the price of speaking out“.

Here are our my thoughts.

Shortly after signing the Declaration of Independence, the Continental Congress passed a resolution for whistleblower protection.  Some sailor and marines blew the whistle on a commander of the navy during the war with Great Britain.  They reported the problems to the Continental Congress and were prosecuted for it.  The Continental Congress not only passed the resolution supporting blowing the whistle on such abuse (calling it a “duty”), but it passed a subsequent resolution to pay the costs of their defense.

Another major whistleblower legislation was passed in 1863 during the Civil War.  The False Claims Act also known as the Lincoln Law allowed private citizens to sue on behalf of the government to recover for false claims and fraud against the government.  This law was significantly revised in 1985 and has become the government’s number one tool for prosecuting fraud against the United States.  Whistleblowers recover from 15% to 30% of what the government receives and cases under the False Claims Act have brought in $60 billion since it was revamped in 1985.

Various state and federal agencies have passed whistleblower protections and evinced a consensus that whistleblowers play a crucial role in ferreting out fraud, waste, and abuse in our system.  In 1985, when Congress was considering one of the oldest and most robust whistleblower statutes (the False Claims Act), it noted that the act was underutilized in large part because of fear of retaliation.  That is perhaps the number one deterrent to people shinning a light on corruption and illicit dealings.  From July 30, 1778 to the present, America has agreed to protect people who are willing to bring bad things to light.

We absolutely need to continue this protection. I’m fighting for this daily.

Beaumont To Pay $84.5 Million To Settle False Claims Act In Federal Whistleblower Case

Bothwell Law Group filed a case that aided whistleblowers in the reporting of fraudulent activity by William Beaumont Hospital in Detroit, Michigan. The hospital agreed to pay an $84.5 million settlement to resolve allegations under the False Claims Act of improper relationships with eight referring physicians that led to the submission of false claims to the Medicare, Medicaid and the military Tricare programs.

Federal Whistleblower Attorney

If you have witnessed misuse, fraud or waste of government funds and feel compelled to do something about it, contact us at Bothwell Law Group at 770-643-1606.

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What Is a Qui Tam Medicare Lawsuit?

Understand the importance of a qui tam Medicare lawsuit.

Qui Tam Medicare LawsuitDo you know what constitutes a qui tam Medicare lawsuit? Medicare is a government-funded healthcare plan. It provides eligible citizens with affordable healthcare options. The system relies on honest workers and a reliable healthcare system to make sure it operates smoothly. However, not all healthcare workers play by the rules. And, if they defraud Medicare, they should expect to get caught and pay the price.

The Role of Private Citizens in a Qui Tam Lawsuit

Qui tam comes from a longer Latin phrase meaning, “as the king as well as himself.” This type of lawsuit allows citizens to pursue legal action on behalf of the government. Today, the majority of these lawsuits fall under the False Claims Act. The government passed this legislation to encourage citizens to come forward with information.

The term relator applies to those citizens who bring forth a qui tam lawsuit or whistleblowers. In the world of Medicaid fraud, whistleblowers play an important role in exposing and stopping criminal activity.

Common Types of Medicare Fraud

Those receiving care from a hospital, nursing home, or hospice should pay close attention to what goes on around them. Many reported Medicare fraud cases directly affect patients. Doctors may “over-diagnose” a patient to get a kickback from Medicare. Some healthcare works will even change a patient’s prescription to another drug for unethical reasons.

Patients may notice inconsistencies with their healthcare provider, but few report them. Many of the whistleblowers are actually employees. Here are some of the most common types of Medicare fraud reported:

  • Overcharging for procedures or charging for procedures never administered
  • Partially filling medications but billing for the full dosage
  • Raising prices for Medicare patients
  • Ordering unnecessary tests
  • Changing diagnostic codes
  • Falsifying a patient’s records to justify more costly treatments

Medicare fraud is very dangerous. It can significantly affect the quality of life for patients. This is especially true if the doctor prescribes drugs or treatments that are not medically necessary. Too many patients, however, don’t recognize the warning signs of fraud. Patients trust their doctors and healthcare workers to provide them with honest service. Unfortunately, Medicare fraud is more common than people realize. Some estimates report Medicare fraud affecting between 8% and 10% of claims.

Protections Provided to Relators with the False Claims Act

Speaking up about wrongdoings is the right thing to do, but many people are afraid to come forward. Those committing Medicaid fraud don’t want to get caught. The legal ramifications for cheating the government are very harsh. Guilty parties may find themselves serving time or paying a hefty fine.

When someone blows the whistle on Medicaid fraud, they’re putting themselves at risk. Those running the scheme may try to silence them. However, the False Claims Act helps to protect whistleblowers from retaliation. It makes it illegal to threaten, harass, suspend, or fire a relator. It’s important to note that each state imposes its own statute of limitations.

Money Awarded to Whistleblowers with the False Claims Act

Whistleblowers can expect to receive something in return for their help. Under the False Claims Act, they receive a percentage of the money the government is able to recover. Most of these awards fall between 15-30 percent of the settlement.

Depending on the size of the case, this can be a large amount of money. The total amount is also dependent on whether the government intervened in the case. It’s not uncommon for a whistleblower to receive millions of dollars for their help in cracking a Medicare fraud scheme.

With the risk of retaliation so high, even with protections in place, the monetary award is the only reason some relators speak up. Thanks to whistleblowers, the Department of Justice was able to recover over $2.5 billion in 2018. Without private citizens reporting tips, the majority of fraud cases would still go unnoticed.

The Role of a Lawyer in a Qui Tam Lawsuit

If you have information about possible Medicare fraud, the government wants you to report it to the Office of the Inspector General. While you may want to let everyone know, it’s best to keep it to yourself. You never know who you may upset in the process, and for your safety, you should stay anonymous for as long as possible.

Before reporting your tip, however, be sure to consult with a lawyer who handles whistleblower lawsuits. Your lawyer will do everything possible to protect your identity and make sure you get your full settlement. Never try to represent yourself. Contact the skilled qui tam Medicare attorneys at Bothwell Law Group by calling 770.643.1606 today.

How Prevalent Is Private Education Fraud?

Are the people in charge of your education guilty of private education fraud?

Recent events have brought to light the subject of private education fraud. While the sole purpose of any school is to educate, private schools also want to make money. Those we trust to educate our children may be engaging in fraudulent activities. Schools try to cover up illegal schemes. But, when the truth comes out, it becomes apparent how common fraud is in the private sector.

Education fraud is a hot topic this year. Several well-known schools are currently under investigation for admission fraud including Yale University and Stanford University, along with six others. The Department of Education oversees admission fraud cases. While these cases are still on-going, it has made the public fully aware of how prevalent fraud is in the education system.

Money: The Leading Cause of Fraud

As the saying goes, the love of money is the root of all evil. This is true in the education system. Schools rely on financial support to provide students with the best education possible. Unfortunately, some schools cross the line.

Schools may also mishandle how they report and spend their money. Administrators may lie about how much money the school makes in a year by deducting expenses that don’t exist and hiding funds. This is usually done to avoid paying taxes or to be eligible for additional funding. No matter the reason, this is a form of fraud.

Defrauding the Department of Education

Schools can also defraud the federal government. The government provides loans to many students attending private schools. The money received from these loans goes to fund the school where the student attends. If the school obtains these loans through devious methods, they’re defrauding the government. Taxpayers end up paying the bill for this illegal behavior.

Here are some ways a school may illegally obtain funds from federal loans:

  • Providing false information – to meet the conditions of a federal loan, a school may lie about certain aspects of their organization.
  • Failing to return funds – if a student withdraws, the school may withhold this information to avoid repaying any federal funds.
  • Illegally recruiting students – the school may provide an illegal incentive to a headhunter who can recruit the most students.
  • Lying about graduation and job placement – schools must provide accurate reports regarding their graduation and job placement rates. Falsifying this information is illegal.
  • Covering up academic eligibility – the school may lie about a student’s academic history to continue receiving funding.
  • Filling out loan applications without consent – it’s illegal for a school to fill out a federal loan application without informing the student.

This type of fraud usually begins at the top, and it requires the knowledge of many individuals to work. It’s often surprising to see how many people willingly participate in education fraud once a case becomes known to the public.

The Impact of Private School Education Fraud

While many people seem to think that private school education fraud only affects those who attend a specific school, they are wrong. Since this money often comes from the federal government, it’s really the taxpayers who lose. Unfortunately, schools go to great lengths to cover up this type of fraud. For this reason, many school administrators get away with participating in illegal activities.

The Department of Education investigates any reports of fraudulent activity. But, to begin an investigation, they need to know where to look. In many instances, they receive a tip from a local whistleblower. The department maintains a hotline for tips. They also provide outreach to help others understand how to identify education fraud. Anyone who has information about school fraud should consider informing the proper authorities.

What to Do if You Know About Fraud in Schools

It’s impossible to prosecute educational facilities if no one speaks out. Those involved keep their lips sealed. That’s why the Department of Education relies so heavily on the testimony of whistleblowers. It takes a lot of courage to come forward, but it’s always the right thing to do. When the case settles, you may also receive compensation for your efforts. Most whistleblowers can expect to receive 15-30 percent of the recovered money.

Before you tell your secret, find a lawyer who handles these types of cases. Retaliation is real, and you need to know your rights as a whistleblower. You need someone who knows how to keep you protected during the process. Find out more about private education fraud by contacting Bothwell Law Group online.

What to Do if You’re Aware of Fraudulent Defense Contractor Claims

Here’s what to expect if you become a whistleblower for fraudulent defense contractor claims.

Fraudulent Defense Contractor ClaimsEven with the government keeping a close eye on things, there is never a shortage of fraudulent defense contractor claims. While most contractors perform a task honestly and to the best of their ability, some cheat the system. You may find out this information before the government does. If you find yourself in this situation, you may want to report the fraudulent activity. Before you do, make sure you know what to expect once you blow the whistle.

Type of Fraudulent Defense Contractor Claims

The government hires numerous contractors to perform specific duties. Some contracts go to large corporations, like Boeing and Lockheed. The government also contracts smaller businesses for certain tasks, including janitorial services. Contractors supply the country with the tools it needs to operate. This includes everything from airplanes and missiles to office furniture. Reports show that the United States government spends about $500 billion per year on contracts.

While the government thoroughly vets every contractor, it can’t completely stop fraud. Both large and small contractors may commit fraudulent acts, costing taxpayers a hefty sum. Some examples of defense contractor fraud include:

  • Over-billing or cross charging
  • Providing services or products that do not meet agreed upon standards
  • Failure to inform of product defects
  • Product substitution without consent

A government contractor is legally obligated to provide and charge only for the services stated in the contract. Steering away from these terms is illegal and a form of fraud.

How to Report Fraudulent Contractor Activity

If you become aware of contractor fraud, you may feel inclined to report it. After all, taxpayers must fund excess government excess spending. Before you spill the beans, however, you must consider several things.

Fraudulent activity often involves many people or entities. You never know if the person you once trusted is part of the scheme or not. While you may want to inform your boss or coworker of your findings, this may not be wise. Whistleblowers often deal with retaliation after coming forward. It’s best to trust no one until the investigation is complete.

The Department of Defense has a hotline for citizens to report fraud. They will evaluate your claim and look into the matter. But just because you report something doesn’t mean it will get resolved. Investigations often take years to complete. You may find yourself dealing with legal issues for a long time.

Protections Provided to Whistleblowers

You may feel afraid to come forward after learning of fraudulent behavior. While it’s true that being a whistleblower isn’t easy, it’s necessary. Authorities have been able to solve many defense contractor cases because of a whistleblower. Yes, it’s not an easy job. But, knowing you’re helping the government and citizens often makes it worth the risk.

Because the government wants you to come forward with information, it protects whistleblowers. The False Claims Act allows private citizens to sue federal contractors on behalf of the government.

The False Claims Act also protects whistleblowers. It makes it illegal for affected parties to seek retaliation against the relator. This includes harassing, demoting, firing, or threatening the whistleblower. If someone violates the False Claims Act, the victim has the right to take legal action.

The Benefits of Reporting DOJ Contractor Fraud

Being a whistleblower also comes with some benefits. First and foremost, you may help prevent injury or loss of life. Yes, it’s that serious. If a contractor sells the DOJ faulty equipment, it may end up harming the troops. If a product makes it to the general public, civilian casualties may occur as a result.

The government also offers monetary compensation to whistleblowers. If your information leads to a conviction, you will receive a percentage of the settlement. This may equal millions of dollars depending on the complexity of the case.

Never Report Defense Contractor Fraud Alone

Before you decide to come forward with any information, you need to retain a lawyer who has experience with defense contractor fraud. These cases can get very complicated. As soon as the information becomes public, you will become a target. Consider hiring a lawyer before you make your initial report.

A lawyer will make sure you’re aware of your rights as a whistleblower. If you become the victim of retaliation, a lawyer will help you seek recourse. While you may want to speak with journalists or media outlets, you shouldn’t contact anyone before speaking with an attorney. Others may want to take advantage of you, but an attorney will help you make wise decisions.

If you have information about possible DOJ contractor fraud, don’t try to navigate the system alone. You may find yourself in over your head if you don’t have legal representation. Find out more about fraudulent defense contractor claims by contacting Bothwell Law Group online.

Whistleblower in a Medicaid Fraud Case? Here’s What You Need to Know

Don’t blow the whistle until you know what to expect when you become a whistleblower in a Medicaid fraud case.

Whistleblower in a Medicaid Fraud CaseKnowing without a doubt that someone is doing wrong is enough reason to become a whistleblower in a Medicaid fraud case, right? In a perfect world, you would come forward with the information, and the guilty party gets sentenced. You become a hero, and everyone sings your praises. However, this is not always the case.

We do not live in a perfect, honest society. Medicaid fraud is rampant. The National Conference of State Legislatures reports that this type of fraud costs states billions of dollars per year. If you know something, the government wants you to speak up. But, becoming a whistleblower is not as simple as it may sound.

Here are the top things you should know before choosing to become a whistleblower:

Your Word Isn’t Always Enough Proof

Even if you know without a shadow of a doubt that someone is committing fraud, your word isn’t proof enough. To investigate further, authorities need more evidence. Sure, if you call and make a formal complaint, they will look deeper into the matter. That doesn’t mean, however, that they will ever collect enough evidence to make an arrest.

What makes it so difficult to gather evidence? The Fourth Amendment puts limits on how authorities can search and collect evidence. It protects citizens from unwarranted searches and seizures. To legally search a suspect’s property, the authorities must have probable cause. They must also obtain a warrant. Even if you know that someone is guilty, your word may not provide enough probable cause to further the investigation.

However, this doesn’t mean you shouldn’t make a complaint or report someone. If the fraud is blatant, your word may be all it takes to initiate the case. Authorities may have enough information from your testimony to open a case and convict the perpetrators.

You May Face Retaliation

Coming forward with information is the right thing to do, but it’s not always safe. Unfortunately, many whistleblowers become targets for retaliation. In many cases, these cases involve a network of individuals. It’s rare for only a single person to run a scam of this nature. If you stop their money-making venture, you may find yourself a victim of retaliation.

There are many different levels of retaliation. Some people may see you as a traitor and treat you differently at work or in private. It’s not uncommon for the accused party to fire, demote, suspend, or monetarily punish a whistleblower. A whistleblower may experience public shaming or harmful threats. Retaliation is illegal, but the law is not always correctly understood or enforced.

While the federal government offers protections to whistleblowers in many cases, these laws vary from state to state. Some states only protect whistleblowers in the public sector and not those who work for a private employer. A lawyer can help explain the different whistleblower laws for your area.

You May Receive a Large Cash Payout

The law allows whistleblowers to collect a considerable cash sum after settlement. This amount may vary, but it usually falls somewhere between 15-30 percent of the settlement figure. The percentage varies on the type and location of the case. For most whistleblowers, the possibility of receiving a cash payout is very enticing. And in many cases, it’s the only reason someone chooses to come forward.

However, be aware that the final settlement amount determines the amount you will receive. Many cases settle for much less than the initial complaint. You may not receive the compensation amount you initially expected. Weighing the pros and cons of a cash payout is important. For example, will you lose your job as a result of becoming a whistleblower? How long will the case last? You may find yourself waiting several years before the case finally closes.

You Need Legal Counsel

Whistleblowers have helped solve many Medicaid fraud cases. Authorities rely on others to provide information to help convict guilty parties. If you have information that could crack open a fraud case, you should consider alerting the proper authorities. But, before you do, it’s best to hire an attorney to represent you.

As a whistleblower in a Medicaid fraud case, you may find yourself in a stressful or dangerous situation. Others will try to stop you from talking. You may feel unsure of how to proceed. You need someone who knows the law and how to protect you. An attorney will guide you through the legal process. This will help you maintain your safety, privacy, and integrity throughout the entire case.

The legal team at Bothwell Law Group represents clients who are a whistleblower in a Medicaid fraud case. Whistleblowers run into resistance at every turn. A whistleblower lawyer will help you navigate these turbulent waters with ease. Contact the skilled Medicaid fraud whistleblower attorneys at Bothwell Law Group by calling 770.643.1606 today.

Can You Rely on Federal Whistleblower Protection?

Many laws provide federal whistleblower protection for people who report illegal activity.

Federal Whistleblower ProtectionWhistleblowers assume a lot of risk by coming forward. Lives can change overnight. While attempting to right something legally wrong, the whistleblower faces the possibility of retaliation by those who would prefer that things stay the way they are. That’s where the concept of federal whistleblower protection comes into the picture.

Are there federal protections for whistleblowers? What kinds of protections exist? If someone takes action against a whistleblower, what are the repercussions? Here are some answers to those questions.

Whistleblowers and the False Claims Act

The False Claim Act (FCA) is one that impacts whistleblowing and provides some degree of protection for those who come forward. It can be tempting to focus on potential compensation for revealing and cooperating in investigations related to illegal activity, there’s another side to consider.

The FCA imposes penalties and possibly jail time for those who seek to interfere with an investigation into fraud. Attempting to compromise a whistleblower with the use of intimidation or other means could be interference. In this scenario, the authorities would bring charges against the party attempting the intimidation. The result is protecting the investigation’s integrity while also protecting the whistleblower from threats.

The Provisions Found in OSHA’s Whistleblower Protection Program

One of the more comprehensive examples of whistleblower protection on a federal level lies within the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s Whistleblower protection programs. Some examples of the program provisions include:

  • Preventing an employer from firing an employee who has filed a complaint. The clauses within the programs relate to the original complaint as well as any complaints about threats related to the continued employment.
  • Transferring the employee to a position with less pay or otherwise taking actions to reduce the employee’s benefits. Sometimes used as a strategy to get the employee to resign, the protections from this type of activity help to ensure the whistleblower can continue to earn an equitable living.
  • In the case of hourly employees, reducing the number of assigned hours per pay period. Again, this provision helps to ensure the whistleblower does not find oneself in a difficult financial position because of coming forward.

All told, there are more than 22 different laws related to various industries that protect whistleblowers. From employees in mining operations to health care facilities to manufacturing plants, one or more of those laws are likely to apply.

Timely filing of complaints is essential with each of those laws. Within the terms and conditions found in each law, there is a specific number of days in which to file. Some laws or acts allow only 30 days to file a complaint. Others allow as long as 180 days. An attorney who is familiar with the laws that apply can advise the client of the number of days left before a filing becomes impossible.

The Protection Applies to Private as Well as Public Company Employees

In times past, there was some difference of opinion about whether whistleblowing protections applied only to employees of public companies. The US Supreme Court settled the question in 2014 in the case of Lawson v. FMR LLC. The ruling was that current whistleblowing laws apply to employees working for private contractors and subcontractors of public companies as well as personnel in the employ of those public companies.

Protections for Employees of Governmental Agencies

Whistleblower protections are not limited to people who work for companies or non-profit organizations. They also extend to government employees. The Whistleblower Protection Act of 1989 includes these protections.

As with laws protecting other types of employees, the WPA prevents a whistleblower from demotion or termination because of the decision to report the alleged illegal activity. It is not legal to reduce the pay of that employee for the duration of the investigation or any subsequent legal action taken. The employer cannot replace the employee during this period. Illness is the only exception. Even then, the employee may resume his or her position after the illness passes.

The Relationship between Federal and State Whistleblowing Laws

Some states have passed laws related to whistleblowing and protections extended to whistleblowers. New York is a good example. When there are state laws that apply to a given situation, those laws must be in harmony with federal laws. Whistleblower attorneys are aware of any state laws that exist. They also know how those state laws relate to federal laws, and which ones do have some bearing on the rights of the whistleblower.

Do you have evidence of fraud or illegal activity within an organization? Contact the skilled federal whistleblower protection attorneys at the Bothwell Law Group by calling 770.643.1606 today.