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

What Are Protections Ensured by the Federal Whistleblowers Act?

federal whistleblowers act

federal whistleblowers actUnder the Federal Whistleblowers Act, individuals who report illegal, fraudulent, or dangerous actions by a defense contractor are protected from retaliation. Furthermore, fraudulent activity by a contractor employed by the United States military is handled differently than other forms of fraud committed against the United States government. Also, the Federal Whistleblowers Act covers protection against retaliation differently.

About Defense Contract Fraud

The defense contracting industry is a multi-billion dollar industry. The potential for wealth as a defense contractor can seem limitless. Therefore, some contractors find themselves tempted to deceive the department of defense. Ultimately, defense contract fraud can take many forms, including:

  • A contractor employed by the department of defense violates any law or rule put in place to govern or guide their actions.
  • A contractor employed by the department of defense severely mismanaged the money allocated to their task. Or, they waste the funds provided to them by the government.
  • Perhaps a contractor abuses the authority given to them by the department of defense.
  • A contractor employed by the department of defense endangers or public health or safety.

The Federal Whistleblowers Act covers all of these situations. The Inspector General of the Department of Defense handles these cases.

What Protections Are in Place for Defense Contract Whistleblowers?

Any individual can report fraudulent activity to the Inspector General. However, he or she must be a private citizen filing a claim under the qui tam provision. Or, they he or she may be an employee of the contractor who is being reported. Hence, the Federal Whistleblower Act provides protection applies to any employee of the United States government who engages in whistleblowing on a defense contractor.

This federal law mandates that employees of the federal government cannot engage in retaliation towards whistleblowers. This law protects civilian employees, military members, and members of the defense intelligence community. In addition, the specifics of the law are as follows:

  • It is illegal to administer any kind of consequence to a government employee who is a whistleblower.
  • Protection of the whistleblower is given top priority. Ultimately, this priority comes before prosecuting those committing the abusive, fraudulent, or wasteful activity.

Are you a government employee with knowledge of improper behavior by a defense contractor? You can report this information to the inspector general. However, to receive the protection you deserve under the Federal Whistleblowers Act, seek out experienced representation from an attorney. If you have been the victim of retaliation because you have reported fraudulent or abusive activity, a whistleblower lawyer can help you seek justice for yourself.

Finally, you can find out what you need to know about the federal whistleblowers act by calling 770.643.1606.

What Is the Whistleblower Act and Who Does It Protect?

What Is the Whistleblower Act

What Is the Whistleblower ActWhat is the Whistleblower Act? The law was enacted in 1989.  The intent to protect anyone working for the federal government who decides to report government agency misconduct.

The Whistleblower Act of 1989 states that only certain offices and judges have the right to hear cases related to whistleblowing. The federal Office of Special Counsel investigates the claims brought under this Act. This counsel is a dedicated legal branch that only reviews federal whistleblowing cases and nothing else.

The Merit System Protection Board is the primary forum in which claims are heard and adjudicated.  Administrative law judges make decisions for these claims. The Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit is the authority that reviews any appeals from the Merit System Protection Board.  However, the appeals tend to be few and far between.

Recent Changes Redefine the Whistleblower Act

The 1989 Act addressed any disclosure of wrongdoing, particularly material or informational, that the reporting party felt was a violation of not just law but an act of gross resource waste, fraud, inefficiency or a threat to the public. This broad definition covered a wide scope of issues related to whistleblowing and fraud.

Early on, many cases were dismissed or deemed unprotected by the Act in court application of the Law. This triggered eventual revisions to broaden the scope of protection. The 1989 Act was augmented by additional law under the Whistleblower Protection Enhancement Act of 2012. This revision added a number of protections for employees, who are involved in the military and intelligence community, and fear retaliation due to their agency’s unique work that tends to be secret, confidential, and restricted. However, this new Act was time-limited through 2014.

Whistleblower Act Protections

In application, a claimant wanting to pursue a whistleblower protection lawsuit first needs to have been an employee of the federal Executive Branch during the time when the incident occurred. There must have been some kind of reporting by the person of perceived wrongdoing, and there needs to be an act of retaliation against the employee due to the reporting. In other words, a person who reported a problem and never experienced retaliation cannot win a claim for injury when one did not occur.

It’s also important to understand, there are other statutory provisions that allow for whistleblower recovery. The Federal False Claims Act allows the ability to sue and recover damages for the government in the case that the government doesn’t want to pursue the claim itself. OSHA also applies whistleblower protections under labor laws, and states have their own statutes for additional rights and recoveries.

If you are wading through information to answer your question “What is the Whistleblower Act?” you don’t have to process through it all alone. Contact our team at Bothwell Law Group to get additional information today.