What to Do If You Blow the Whistle at Work
Blowing the whistle on your employer's fraud, abuse, or other illegalities isn’t easy. Doing the right thing can lead to retaliation and even termination. That’s why you need the expertise of our whistleblower attorneys to help you navigate the complicated landscape of federal and state whistleblower law. We are nationally recognized for our expertise in the area of whistleblower law and for our successes on behalf of our clients, for whom we have been zealous advocates for more than three decades. We will relentlessly fight to protect you against retaliation and to make sure that the issues you stuck your neck out for receive appropriate attention. We will also fight to obtain just compensation for you, whether through pre-litigation private settlements, in the courtroom, or in other appropriate forums that provide monetary awards to whistleblowers.
Know Your Rights
Whistleblowers are the "eyes and ears" of the public in critical industries that affect our health, safety, and financial well-being. Objecting to or reporting fraud on shareholders, harm to patients, abusive practices by pharmaceuticals and financial service companies or the like serves the public interest, and should not lead to career damage and job loss.
What is Whistleblower Retaliation?
Whistleblower retaliation is any adverse action that a company takes against an employee because he or she has reported, either internally or to a third party, illegal conduct on the part of a company.
Termination is an extreme form of retaliation. But other actions, such as demotions or removing duties or withholding benefits, may be prohibited by laws that protect workers from retaliation.
What do I need to do before Filing a Whistleblower Claims?
To bring a whistleblower claim, one must first engage in “protected activity,” which is usually an effort to direct attention to potential fraud or other illegal activity. If our employer takes an adverse action against you because you have engaged in protected activity, you may have the right to redress
How to Determine if you’ve been Retaliated Against
1. Is retaliation costing you?
Being terminated from your job causes you tremendous economic harm, but so can the denial of a promotion, an involuntary transfer or the removal of important responsibilities. Even a retaliatory and negative performance review can lead to significant harm because your raises and bonuses are often based on positive reviews and feedback.
2. Did your work environment change when retaliation started?
The first sign of retaliation is sometimes a subtle change in the employee’s work environment after engaging in protected activity. Employers sometimes apply pressure gradually, hoping that the whistleblower gets tired of the mistreatment and quits on their own accord. This can also constitute “adverse action” sufficient to state a claim for retaliation. For instance, hostile remarks from the boss can isolate you and chill others from engaging with you. Retaliation can be inferred not just in the form it takes but from its timing, evidence of related animus or shifting explanations.
3. Is your employer affecting your ability to do or stay at your job?
Your employer may choose to retaliate against you by taking other actions to deter you from staying at your job or that affect your employment. This may include threats, increased surveillance, or spreading negative information about you through the company.
Actions by your employer that constitute whistleblower retaliation may be hard to identify, particularly if you are unfamiliar with the specific statute that protects the form of whistleblowing in which you engaged. If you are uncertain whether the action your employer has taken is sufficient to form the basis for a whistleblower retaliation claim, the best course of action is to gather facts about the actions taken and speak with an experienced attorney who can provide you with an individualized assessment of your situation.
KMB attorneys have proudly represented hundreds of whistleblower clients who bravely risked their careers to report wrongdoing. These clients work in nearly every industry – from finance and pharmaceuticals to the transportation and manufacturing sectors. Regardless of the type of whistleblower case, we tenaciously fight for the best results for our clients, whether it be executing a confidential settlement, or navigating a federal or state whistleblower program. Whistleblowers deserve advocates who will fight for them and protect them.
Here are just a few of the whistleblower we have represented:
- The director of the Department of Health and Human Services’ Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority who was removed from his position in retaliation for his insistence that the government invest the billions of dollars allocated by Congress to address the COVID-19 pandemic into safe and scientifically vetted solutions, and not in drugs, vaccines and other technologies that lack scientific merit.
- A Boeing Engineer who blew the whistle on safety issues with 737 MAX Jet
- The former Chief Medical Officer who testified about misconduct affecting health and safety at United Medical Center
- A public employee who blew the whistle on a mutual fund company’s illegal conduct
- A former defense contractor employee who filed a False Claims Act Lawsuit against employer accused of gross mismanagement and fraud
Katz, Marshall & Banks partner, Lisa Banks, co-authored Whistleblower Law: A Practitioner’s Guide. This comprehensive guide to whistleblower law, published by ALM’s Law Journal Press is available in eBook and print formats. Click here for more information.
Contact KMB to speak with one of our intake attorneys to discuss your case, without charge or further obligation.