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What Does Whistleblower Retaliation Look Like?


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What does whistleblower retaliation look like? See examples and consequences of retaliation, along with protections available to a Whistleblower.

If you are interested in filing a whistleblower claim or learning more about your options after retaliation, contact whistleblower attorney Bert Louthian.

Published in: Law
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What Does Whistleblower Retaliation Look Like?

  1. 1. What Does Whistleblower Retaliation Look Like? Examples and Consequences of Retaliation, Along with Protections Available to a Whistleblower
  2. 2. The Value of a Whistleblower Whistleblowers play a crucial role in our country. They point out fraud, abuse and waste that costs taxpayers billions of dollars. They report wrongdoing by fraudulent healthcare providers, defense contractors, employers and other individuals or companies that take advantage of the system. Whistleblowers are often employees of the fraudulent companies, and they come forward with important information about wrongdoing they’ve witnessed despite the looming threat of retaliation.
  3. 3. What is Retaliation? Retaliation is an action or actions taken by an employer as a response to whistleblowing. Even if an employee reports wrongdoing internally and not to the authorities, retaliation can still occur. Most whistleblowers are given protection, by law, against retaliation from employers, though it is still a major concern for whistleblowers. After all, an employer willing to commit fraud might also be willing to retaliate against employees. Retaliation comes in many different forms. Let’s look at some of the most common...
  4. 4. Being Fired from Your Job • One of the most common and obvious forms of retaliation is the firing of an employee. Once the employee has reported fraud, abuse or waste, either internally or to the authorities, employees are prohibited by law from firing a worker for reporting the wrongdoing. • Example: An employee grows concerned after coming across discrepancies in his company’s accounting practices. He first reports the issue to his employers and, then, after his report falls on deaf ears, he takes his claim to the authorities. Only a few weeks later, he is fired by his employer.
  5. 5. Having Your Hours Cut • Reducing an employee’s time at work is another form of retaliation. A worker may be shifted to a part-time position as opposed to full time or have their hours increasingly reduced, impacting their pay or other benefits. • Example: After discovering fraudulent billing practices at a large defense contractor, an employee files a whistleblower claim through the False Claims Act. She soon finds that her employer has reduced her workload, which affects her pay and her influence at work.
  6. 6. A Demotion, Wage Cut or Denial of Benefits • Retaliating employers might find other ways to respond to an employee who has spoken out about fraud. Demoting an employee, cutting their wages or denying benefits are tactics used by employers to make a position less desirable for a worker, possibly with the intention of pushing them out of a company. • Example: A nurse who works at a medical facility notices a pattern of overbilling of Medicare patients. Knowing that this is a common form of healthcare fraud, she reports the problem to her boss, and is soon thereafter given fewer responsibilities, fewer hours and less pay.
  7. 7. Intimidation from Employers • Employers may retaliate against whistleblowers through hostility or discrimination. The possibility for promotions could become nonexistent. An employee could be “frozen out” of meetings, dialogue or discussions within their company. • Example: An investment banker has noticed that some of the senior members of his company are involved in illegal activities that violate financial rules and regulations. After coming forward about the activity, he is noticeably treated differently by his bosses and coworkers. He is no longer invited to important meetings and becomes the subject of scorn at work.
  8. 8. Understanding “Protected Activity” Whistleblower laws vary somewhat from one sector or governing statute to another, though employees who speak out are generally given some protection from retaliation for certain actions. Reporting wrongdoing internally, speaking to the press and refusing to do something illegal are usually protected by law. However, it is not uncommon for employers to retaliate against employees, even though it is illegal.
  9. 9. Fear of Retaliation Undermines the System There are good reasons why the government offers protection for whistleblowers. First, whistleblowers provide a much-needed service that reduces the occurrence of fraud, abuse and waste. Encouraging them to speak up is a central part of the government’s efforts to reduce corruption. Second, protections are given because they are needed. In other words, employers have proven they are prone to retaliate if there are no legal consequences for doing so.
  10. 10. Proving Retaliation for Whistleblowing To prove retaliation, a whistleblower will need to demonstrate that they engaged in a protected activity, that an employer knew about it, and that the employer’s knowledge of the protected activity prompted retaliation. While an employee might find it difficult to fulfill all of these requirements, whistleblower attorneys often have the experience and knowledge needed to identify and prove retaliation by employers.
  11. 11. What to do if You’re a Victim of Retaliation Finding an experienced whistleblower attorney is a vital part of filing a claim, and it is also crucial in finding protection from retaliation. You should keep extensive records and notes regarding your correspondence with employers and your whistleblowing actions. Having a documented timeline that shows the relationship between your actions and the subsequent actions of your employer can be key to demonstrating retaliation.
  12. 12. Contact Bert Louthian If you are interested in filing a whistleblower claim or learning more about your options after retaliation, contact whistleblower attorney Bert Louthian. He has extensive experience in filing claims through the False Claims Act, including helping clients that have been victims of employer retaliation. Contact Bert Louthian today to learn more.