California whistleblowers are on the frontlines in the fight against corruption, but it takes an enormous amount of courage to step forward and report a crime against an employer, business or government.
These brave insiders, whether they are employees, suppliers, customers or even competitors, provide valuable information that may not otherwise be known. It may be a life-altering decision to come forward, however, people are motivated to improve a business, protecting consumers or the public in general.
Some people are motivated by the belief that if they are not part of the solution, they are part of the problem.
California companies will often attempt to hide their criminal or illegal activities. That’s why the information provided by a whistleblower is so vital.
Under the False Claims Act, known as “qui tam” cases, an employee or someone else with a specific knowledge about fraud or misconduct can make a claim. This is typically a case that exposes the business for alleged crimes that lead to the loss of money by the government.
Indeed, anyone with valuable information about unlawful behavior or injustices may come forward. This may be an accountant, an employee, production worker, compliance personnel, purchasing agents, human resources manager and executives.
There is fraud and corruption in many sectors of society including the most common:
- California and US health care industry
- Pharmaceutical industry
- Regulatory compliance (environmental and safety regulations)
- Financial and accounting services such as banking, mortgage, and insurance industries
- Construction, infrastructure, and public works
- International business dealings
- National defense contractors
The government created programs to reward those who help them weed out wrongdoers. These programs provide reward money to whistleblowers. A California whistleblower could receive up to 30% of the money government officials recover.
Most often, whistleblowers risk their job or put their career in jeopardy when they step up to report a crime.
An attorney should pursuit the maximum available whistleblower reward as well as protect the whistleblower from potential retaliation. Retaliation happens when an employee is fired, demoted or reassigned to a lesser position by their employer following a “protected activity” such being a whistleblower.
Employers who violate Section 1102.5 may be ordered by a judge to reinstate whistleblowers with backpay and benefits (Labor Code section 98.6(b)). Additionally, they may have to pay the employee’s actual damages (Labor Code section 1105). Finally, the employer faces civil penalties of $10,000 for each violation (Labor Code section 1102.5(f), 98.6(b)(3)).
Also, as of Jan. 1, 2021, AB 1947 authorizes courts to award attorneys’ fees to whistleblowers who prevail against employers under Labor Code section 1102.5.
Among the many whistleblower statutes and programs are:
- Qui Tam cases under the Federal False Claims Act;
- SEC whistleblower program;
- CFTC whistleblower program;
- IRS whistleblower program;
- Motor Vehicle Safety Whistleblower Act;
- State and local False Claims Acts;
California Employment Law Attorney
Johnson Attorneys Group can help you pursue a California whistleblower claim. Our law firm has extensive experience handling these complex legal matters. For example, there are both federal and state whistleblower laws and programs that have different rules and procedures.
If you would like to pursue a whistleblower claim or have suffered retaliation due to one, we urge you to speak to a qualified employment law attorney about your rights. You may contact Johnson Attorneys Group to request a free consultation at 855-918-2240.