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Whistleblowing & Retaliation

While society needs people to stand up against unlawful practices, employers often retaliate against good-faith whistleblowers. Employers may see the person as a trouble maker, or simply wish to cover up their bad practices or protect people who have done wrong.

Some forms of retaliation are unlawful, and some laws even actively encourage whistleblowing, by offering successful whistleblowers a bounty. However, the unfortunately reality is that whistleblowing and anti-retaliation laws are both complex and narrow, meaning that much good faith, well-meaning whistleblowing is not protected. At Beranbaum Menken, we understand the nuances of these laws, and can help you determine whether to blow the whistle, if you are in possession of information concerning wrong-doing, and whether any retaliation you may have faced for past whistleblowing was unlawful. Contact us to schedule a consultation.

Retaliation

Some laws also protect employees from retaliation from their employers for making certain complaints. For example, federal and state anti-discrimination laws protect employees who make good-faith complaints concerning conduct that they believe to be discriminatory. Similarly, many wage and hour laws protect employees who make complaints concerning their wages. The National Labor Relations Act protects some employees from retaliation for voicing complaints to their coworkers about their working conditions. New York Labor Law Section 740 protects people from retaliation for blowing the whistle about employer conduct which “is in violation of law, rule or regulation which violation creates and presents a substantial and specific danger to the public health or safety, or which constitutes health care fraud.”

Retaliation can take the form of any conduct which constitutes an “adverse employment action,” including termination, demotion, or failure to promote.

Beranbaum Menken has successfully protected employees against many different forms of retaliation. For example, this firm is currently representing an employee who was terminated for exposing misconduct by the City of Mount Vernon. In retaliation for his whistleblowing, the employee was terminated in violation of his constitutional right to due process. We are also litigating a case against a midtown Manhattan health club after an employee blew the whistle on unsafe conditions in the pool and was subsequently fired. We secured a six figure verdict for a pilot who was fired after reporting unethical and illegal conduct to his supervisors.

Our anti-retaliation laws are complex and nuanced, and unfortunately leave many good faith whistleblowers in the cold. Beranbaum Menken has the experience to help you determine whether the retaliation you have suffered may be unlawful. Contact us to schedule a consultation.

 

Qui Tam Suits

A “qui tam” suit essentially means a lawsuit brought by a private individual in the place of the government, meaning that a private individual is suing to recover money, not for themselves, but for the government.

Some laws, such as the federal and New York False Claims Acts, actively encourage people with information about certain kinds of wrongdoing to come forward. These laws offer bounties to people who successfully uncover fraud or misrepresentations regarding government funds. Where someone has specific information concerning a fraud against the government, and that information not currently known to government investigators, the law may allow the whistleblower to retain a portion of any funds recovered for the government.

Beranbaum Menken has experience bringing qui tam suits and securing favorable outcomes for whistleblowers, including a $5.7 million award for a client who blew the lid on off-label marketing of pharmaceuticals and a $3.4 million reward for a client who blew the whistle on Medicaid fraud,

We can help you navigate the often labyrinthine qui tam and false claims act laws. We help our clients expose corruption and misconduct, and protect our clients’ rights to be rewarded for their bravery. If you believe you may have information concerning fraud against a government entity, contact us to schedule a consultation.