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Will the Federal Whistleblower Laws Really Protect Me If I Report Defense Contract Fraud?

Federal Whistleblower Laws

Federal Whistleblower LawsWe get a lot of questions about the protections provided by federal whistleblower laws. Many people wonder what they are, whether they qualify, and if they are truly enough to protect against any unfair retaliation. To make it easier, we’ve provided a brief overview of coverage, limitations, and other items you should consider.

What Are Whistleblower and Anti-Retaliation Laws?

At the most basic level, they protect an individual from employer retaliation in the event they report any of the following:

  • Fraud
  • Safety
  • Environmental hazards
  • Gross waste
  • Abuse of power
  • Negligent or criminal management
  • And more.

They were designed to encourage people who were aware of wrong-doing to step forward, without fear of losing their jobs or livelihood. They specifically protect against an employer engaging in any of the following tactics as a result of an employee’s whistleblowing:

  • Termination
  • Harassment
  • Demotion
  • Creation of a hostile work environment

What Requirements Do I Need to Meet to Prove I was Retaliated Against?

First and foremost, you must meet any of the state or federal timelines for filing. The statute of limitations varies by complaint type, so be sure and check with a local attorney about your state’s laws.

Also, you must prove all of the following elements:

  1. You engaged in a protected activity (i.e. whistleblowing)
  2. Your employer knew or suspected you engaged in this activity.
  3. You suffered an adverse employment action (like those listed above)
  4. Your engagement in the protected action was what caused your employer to take adverse action.

Is There Anything Else I Should Consider in a Whistleblower Situation?


Even if your employer does not retaliate in any way, shape, or form, becoming a whistleblower may impact other areas of your life. Depending on how your actions affected the company, co-workers may hold you responsible for fine, layoffs, and even jail time resulting from your claim or lawsuit. Is it common? Or fair? No. But it’s an unfortunate side-effect which has been known to happen.

Another consideration is the size of the industry you work in, and how readily available or marketable your skills might be outside of the industry. Many people find it extremely uncomfortable to remain in their current company’s employ after filing a complaint or lawsuit against them. However, doing so can mean you will have difficulty finding employ elsewhere.

In small industries, such as defense contracting, most people know each other well. You will be at the mercy of the rumor mill, and another company may not be willing to take a chance on hiring you. This can effectively force you out of the industry entirely; a difficult prospect if your skills and abilities are limited and highly specialized.

Still Have Questions about Whether or Not You’d Be Protected under the Federal Whistleblower Laws?

Find out what you need to know about federal whistleblower laws by calling our team at Bothwell Law Group at 770.643.1606 now.

What You Need to Know About the Laws That Protect Whistleblowers Before You Take Any Action

Laws That Protect Whistleblowers

Laws That Protect WhistleblowersIf you’re Googling “laws that protect whistleblowers,” chances are good you’ve encountered something not quite right where you work. If you’re wondering whether or not you should do something about it, you’ve taken the right first step: finding out more about what legal protections you have.

The False Claims Act lays out some very explicit protections against retaliation, as well as remediation for parties wronged as a result of filing suit. However, enforcement is not universal, and the very specificity of the laws can leave a lot of other gray areas in which you might be at risk. Here’s a quick overview of what they do (and do not) cover.

False Claims Act Anti-Retaliation Provisions

In general, the FCA statute makes it illegal to retaliate against whistleblowers and individuals who have opposed illegal activities. Specifically, it prevents an employee from being:

  • Fired
  • Demoted
  • Suspended
  • Harassed
  • Discriminated against
  • Threatened with any or all of the above

To file suit under the retaliation provision, an employee must prove two things:

  • He/she engaged in a protected activity (i.e. whistleblowing)
  • He/she was discriminated against in one of the manners above as a result of the same protected activity

Anti-Retaliation Remediation

In general, these are designed to “make the employee whole” as it were. This can include reinstatement (at the same level or status obtained previously); double the amount of back pay and interest owed on back pay; and additional special damages resulting from the discrimination. As part of the damages, you can include all court and attorney fees, as well as additional compensation for duress, suffering and so forth.

Unfortunately, the law around this is not universal, and can be subsumed by state-level legislation that covers the same topic. This variability includes the timeline for filing a retaliation lawsuit. The statute of limitations will depend on the content and provisions contained in a given state’s closest legal equivalent.

What Isn’t Covered Under the Anti-Retaliation Provision

While these protections are all well and good, there are other social and industry ramifications you can sometimes experience. For example, if the lawsuit leads a company to shutter an entire division, or even close their business doors for good, the people who are out of a job might lay the blame at your feet. It’s not fair, but you are likely to lose friends and acquaintances during the process.

Another example is especially appropriate in the defense industry. Because it’s a small, contained group of individuals, most people tend to know one another, and word can travel fast. You may earn an unwarranted reputation as a high-risk hire, making it very difficult for you to get another job within the industry. It’s almost impossible to prove, and yet very likely to occur.

Looking for More Information on Whistleblower Protections?

Find out what you need to know about the laws that protect whistleblowers by calling 770.643.1606.