What Should You Do?
If you have insider knowledge involving significant fraud or dishonesty affecting public money, safety or individual rights you should consult with an attorney for the purpose of better understanding your options. You should be aware that many relevant laws are of recent vintage, and that many attorneys (and even judges) have not yet had the occasion to become familiar with them. It is therefore important that you select an attorney who is already familiar with this law, or is seriously prepared to investigate it on your behalf.
1986 False Claims Act Amendments
The False Claims Reform Act modernized the law, restored the rights of whistleblowers to file claims, and set mandatory reward levels, regardless of the amount of money collected from the corrupt or abusive contractor. The amendments reestablished the rights of whistleblowers to file qui tam lawsuits. It permitted whistleblowers to directly litigate their cases against contractors, whether or not the United States joined in the action. The new law called for treble damages and per-violation fines were increased. Anti-retaliation provisions were also included, protecting the whistleblower. Furthermore, the act made it easier to prove fraud.
Senator Grassley’s Acts
After the economic meltdown in 2008 involving systemic irregularities in the nation’s largest financial institutions, Congress passed the False Claims Correction Act. Consequently numerous loopholes created by bad judicial decisions were closed by three separate amendments, one enacted in 2009 and two enacted in 2010. Now, those who come forward in the area of unpaid income taxes, securities fraud and commodities futures fraud enjoy unprecedented protection.
In addition to these there are whistleblowing laws pertaining to environmental protection, federal contractor fraud, federal employee status, food safety, health care, IRS employees, military members, national security, transportation, occupational health and safety and privacy situations. There are also laws pertaining to whistleblowing in equal opportunity/discrimination cases and labor rights. There are state law remedies in some of these categories, as well.
Some Federal Whistleblower Protection Summarized
- Consumer Product Safety Act of 2008
- Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act of 2010
- Section 768 (creating a new section 21 of the Commodity Exchange Act)
- Section 922 (creating a new section 21F of the Securities Exchange Act)
- Section 924 (requiring SEC to establish a whistleblower protection office)
- Section 1057 (creating whistleblower protections under the Consumer Financial Protection act of 2010)
- Section 806, Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002 and Department of Labor Rules at 29 CFR Part 1980 (whistleblower protection for publically traded companies)
- 12 USC §1790b (whistleblower protection for employees in banking industries)
- 18 USC § 1513 (civil remedy for wrongful discharge based on disclosures protected under the obstruction of justice statute)
- 15 USC § 78u-6(h)(1) (civil remedy for wrongful discharge based on violation of the Dodd-Frank Act)
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