Whistleblower = a person who informs on a person or organization engaged in an illicit activity
Employees in Washington, D.C., need to know that if their employer is engaging in unethical or illegal behavior, they have the right to report such actions to the appropriate authorities without fear of losing their jobs. In fact, the amount of money the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has awarded to whistleblowers has risen above $100 million, with some whistleblowers receiving as much as $30 million.
Wells Fargo is a long-established name in the banking industry, and one expects that it will act with integrity in its business activities. Therefore, Washington D.C. residents may be shocked to hear that the banking giant got caught firing 5,300 workers for reporting that the company was making fictitious bank accounts, false bank card personal identification numbers and false email accounts. The bank was penalized $185 million for these actions.
This blog has covered numerous stories of individuals who blew the whistle on their employer's unlawful activities. It is important to hold Washington, D.C. employers accountable for their actions, and sometimes the only way to do that is to report your employer's acts to the appropriate authorities. Therefore, it is important to know what steps to take, should you find yourself in such a position.
Workers in Washington, D.C. are sometimes in the position of learning that their employer is doing something illegal. They may wonder what to do with this information. Fortunately, agencies such as the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission have programs to encourage employees to report illegal activities that their employer is committing, specifically, securities fraud.
Washington, D.C. residents may be interested to hear that the Occupational Safety and Health Administration is testing an "expedited case processing pilot" program in certain states that would help those who file whistleblower complaints with the agency. Under the pilot program, workers who file whistleblower complaints, per certain laws, can ask the agency to stop investigating the situation and issue its findings in the case, and then an administrative law judge with the U.S. Department of Labor would review the case. A representative of the agency stated that the goal of the program is to resolve whistleblower cases in which workers were retaliated against, in a quicker fashion.
Earlier this month, this blog discussed qui tam actions -- that is, a lawsuit an individual can bring against an employer that is defrauding the government. As an incentive to blow the whistle on such actions, individuals may be eligible to receive an award. Such whistleblower awards must be applied for, and there are numerous factors the federal government will consider when deciding how much to award an individual. Today we are focusing on Securities and Exchange Commission violations.
It is unfortunate, but sometimes employers in Washington, D.C., behave unscrupulously and attempt to defraud the U.S. federal government. When an employee learns of their employer's unethical activities, they may want to file a qui tam action, in order to report the employer's misdeeds to the proper authorities. However, they might fear that their employer will fire them or retaliate in some other way if they do so. Employees should not fear this, however. If they blow the whistle on their employer and file a suit, they are will receive qui tam protection per federal law.
If an individual in Washington, D.C., learns that another individual is defrauding the United States government, this can be very disturbing information. Individuals may feel like they need to take action against such unethical activities, but may not know where to start. To begin with, let's discuss the False Claim Acts and how it allows individuals to bring a qui tam action against those who commit wrongdoing against the federal government.
As the name implies, a whistleblower is someone who publicly discloses the criminal activity or other misconduct of their employer without their employer's consent. In most cases, the act of blowing the whistle is dangerous for an employee, as they have put their employer in the spotlight in a negative way. Because of this, there are measures in place to protect the whistleblower if they encounter retaliation as a result of the whistleblower activity.