What Laws Provide Protections for Whistleblowers?
The state of Georgia and the federal government have enacted dozens of laws pertaining to whistleblower activities. These laws include protections against retaliation from employers as well as the potential for financial rewards when making a valid claim. Specific legal procedures must be adhered to in making any whistleblower claim.
These include but are not limited to the following:
- The False Claims Act, also referred to as Qui Tam, the federal law that grants a specific percentage of the damages recovered in claims of government contract fraud
- The Dodd-Frank Act, which regulates the financial industry
- The Sarbanes-Oxley Act, providing regulations to combat corporate fraud
- The IRS Whistleblower Program, for the purpose of exposing federal tax fraud
- The Consumer Financial Protection Act, providing protections for consumers against unfair marketplace activities and practices
- The Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, providing regulations to stop bribery and improper accounting in transnational corporations
- The Clean Air Act
- The Toxic Substance Control Act
Georgia’s whistleblower law prohibits disciplinary action taken against any public employee who discloses unethical activities taken by state agencies. It also prohibits disciplinary action against private employees who make good faith whistleblower claims against their employer. In both cases, the employee can initiate a civil suit to recover damages, court costs, and more.
Is Whistleblowing Ever Illegal?
Whistleblowing can be illegal, but it usually is not. One instance where it may be considered illegal is when the information exposed threatens national security. However, an employer may attempt to retaliate by claiming you have broken a law where you have not. If an employer is claiming you have broken a law, getting in touch with a lawyer as soon as possible is prudent.
Examples of Whistleblower Claims
Whistleblower claims can include any instance of wrongful conduct that violates ethical standards or state or federal law, including but not limited to:
- Government fraud
- Health and safety violations in the workplace
- Environmental law violations, such as toxic dumping
- Hostile work environments, wage violations, and wrongful termination in the workplace
- Medicare, Medicaid, and other types of healthcare fraud
- Military contract fraud
- Corporate accounting fraud by financial institutions
- PPP Loan Fraud or Fraudulent government loans
- IRS or Tax Fraud
- Securities Fraud
Is There a Time Limit on Filing a Whistleblower Claim?
Yes, whistleblower claims do have statute of limitations and can vary depending on the law that was violated. For example, under the False Claims Act, you have six years from the date the fraud was committed, and 3 years for a retaliation claim. Different statutes have different time limits depending on the nature of the claim.
We recommend that you report your case as soon as possible with the help of an attorney once you discover wrongdoing in your organization. Your attorney can guide you through the process and protect you from adverse actions by your employer.
HDR Law Is Here to Help Protect You
Our firm is dedicated to protecting the legal rights of anyone who bravely exposes corruption, fraud, or other misconduct that they have witnessed as a public or private employee or as a citizen. We have the legal experience, litigation skills, and passion for justice that you need to forge ahead in any whistleblower endeavor.