San Bernardino Whistleblower Lawyer
Whistleblowers make a difference by reporting safety violations, fraud and other types of wrongdoing. When you do the right thing and report a crime, you deserve to be protected. With the help of a whistleblower attorney, you can protect your rights, prevent an employer from retaliating and get the financial award you deserve.
What Is a Whistleblower and How Do Employers Retaliate?
A whistleblower is someone who discloses information about some form of illegal activity. This may be about mismanagement, fraud, wrongdoing or an abuse of power. In some cases, whistleblowers expose information about actions that they believe endanger the health and safety of the public.
After you expose illegal activity, you may suffer adverse effects in your workplace. This might be from getting fired by your employer or suffering from a demotion. An employer may resort to harassment or administrative discipline to retaliate. From losing access to training to not getting a contract renewed, there are many ways that an employer may try to retaliate in a whistleblower case in San Bernardino.
Thankfully, there are some laws that protect you from retaliation. If your corporation is traded on the New York Stock Exchange, you are protected through the Sarbanes Oxley Act of 2002. The Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act also includes protections for whistleblowers who work in the financial industry. If you work in the federal government, you are guaranteed protections through the Whistleblower Protection Enhancement Act (FSMA). Meanwhile, workers in the food industry are covered through the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA).
Examples of Whistleblowers
Over the years, there have been many famous examples of whistleblowers. In the Enron case, the company’s vice-president stepped forward to report accounting fraud. Sherron Watkins wrote a letter that stated that Enron’s stock was essentially a Ponzi scheme and needed to be fixed. Five months later, her letter became public. Because of whistleblower protections, Watkins was not retaliated against by her company.
In another case, John Kopchinski brought a qui tam suit against Pfizer. John Kopchinski believed that Pfizer was using fraudulent marketing techniques to advertise Bextra. According to Kopchinski, Pfizer was violating the Anti-Kickback statute for receiving federal and state reimbursements. Ultimately, Pfizer had to pay $2.3 billion in fines in a guilty plea. This was the largest civil fraud settlement to ever happen against a pharmaceutical corporation. Along with six other whistleblowers, Kopchinski received $102 million for reporting the crime.
One case was so famous that it became a Hollywood film starring Cher. Karen Silkwood was an employee at the Kerr-McGee Nuclear Power Plant. Because nuclear power is inherently dangerous, these plants are held to high standards of safety. Silkwood reported that there were major safety and health violations that the company already knew about. Unfortunately, she was found dead shortly after she told company officials that she was going to tell the media about the violations. Ultimately, Kerr-McGee shuttered the nuclear power plant.
Whistleblower Protection Under the Law
Because of their importance in stopping fraud, wrongdoing and illegal activities, whistleblowers are protected under various federal laws. If you are a resident of San Bernardino or other California cities, state laws also protect you from retaliation. Various state laws protect whistleblowers after their employer breaches the public trust or breaks the law. Unlike other states, public and private employees are protected in California.
In 2014, California added three new laws to the California Whistleblower Protection Act. Previously, employees could not be retaliated against if they reported a legal violation to the police or a government official. Now, the law also protects employers if employees report the violation internally at the company or to an external body. Third-party contractors and similar workers are also protected in the revised statutes.
If an employer violates state or federal laws about retaliation, a whistleblower attorney can help you seek compensation. California allows you to file a claim for damages that you may have incurred because of the retaliation. This may be in the form of reinstatement, damages related to a harmed reputation or lost wages.
Do I Need to Hire a Whistleblower Lawyer?
When someone reports abuse, fraud or illegal activities, it is not always an easy process. Afterward, an employer may try to demote you, retaliate at work or terminate your contract. A whistleblower lawyer can help you achieve the justice that you deserve. State and federal laws can be complicated to navigate. With the expertise of lawyers at Rizio Lipinsky, you can protect yourself and fight for your rights.
A whistleblower attorney can help you fight for compensation like a monetary award for whistleblowing or a private settlement. Whistleblowers serve the public interest by reporting illegal activities, and they deserve to be protected. By getting the help of an attorney, you can make sure your rights are protected, and you get the best financial award possible. Contact us today to start your free consultation.
- This article should only be used for informational purposes. It does not constitute legal advice, and it does not create an attorney-client relationship with anyone. If you need legal advice, please consult an attorney in your community.
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