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Private Sector and Federal Employee Law Blog

Military Whistleblower -- Criminal or Patriot?

Pfc. Bradley Manning, presently confined in detention at a U.S. Army camp in Kuwait, is at the center of a whistle blowing storm reminiscent of Daniel Elllsberg's leak of the Pentagon papers in 1971.

Manning was charged in early July with 12 counts of transferring classified military information to his personal computer and then sending it on to a third party not authorized to receive it. Among other things that Manning allegedly provided, while he was stationed in Iraq, was a classified video showing a 2007 Army helicopter airstrike that killed 12 civilians. WikiLeaks, a whistleblower organization, posted the video, which war critics have cited to allege that the U.S. military knowingly killed non-combatants. WikiLeaks has also just posted an additional 75,000 classified documents on the war in Afghanistan.

Qui Tam Suit Brings Over $2 Million to Whistleblower

Qui tam is a term and concept not even known by many lawyers, much less members of the general public. Qui tam is a Latin term and a type of lawsuit that allows a private citizen to bring a claim on behalf of and in the name of the United States government against a contractor or other party that is engaged in a government contract and defrauding the taxpayers.

People who bring qui tam suits are known as whistleblowers and protected under the Whistleblower Act. They are also entitled to share a percent of the money recovered with the government.

A qui tam whistleblower, Allen Davis, brought a suit against Northrop Grumman Systems Corp. in a Los Angeles federal court in 2006. That case very recently settled for $12.5 million, with Davis receiving $2,375,000 of that amount.

Internships and the Question of Pay

In the realm of workplace ambiguities, the intern often occupies a special niche. What is he or she doing? Does it approximate the work that a "real" employee does? Is the focal point supposed to be about the intern accumulating valuable education and insights, or is an internship intended to benefit the employer on equal terms? And what about pay?

Essentially, there is often enough uncertainty regarding internships that they can lead to contract disputes with an employer. If an intern is receiving no pay yet gaining solid experience and, ultimately, an enhanced resume, that is one thing. What if the employer regards that unpaid intern as a standard employee, though, and works him or her as such, the primary motivation being the advantage to the employer and not the educational opportunities afforded the intern? Is that a problem?

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  • SuperLawyers | Univision
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I was impressed with his knowledge and professionalism, and I will always be grateful for his guidance.

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