I Acted as a Whistleblower and was Fired as a Result, What Can I Do?
You may be able to bring a lawsuit against your employer. If a person is terminated for acting lawfully as an employee of a company then the termination was retaliatory and unlawful. There are many different kinds of whistleblower laws that protect against retaliatory termination and allow the employee to bring a lawsuit against the employer if fired.
False Claims Act Whistleblower Employee Protections
If an employer has a duty to make claims to a federal agency, and that employer falsifies a claim, the government may launch an investigation and/or sue the employer. Any employee who assists the government in their investigation or suit in any way (e.g., testifying for the government) is generally protected under the False Claims Act from being fired as a result. If an employee decides to sue an employer for retaliatory termination under the False Claims Act, the employee must show:
- He was acting in a manner protected under the False Claims Act
- The employer had knowledge that the employee was acting to assist the government in an investigation or lawsuit against the company
- The employee's termination was in retaliation for protected activities
A whistleblower that was wrongfully terminated by their employer could be entitled to:
- Reinstatement with seniority
- Double back pay and interest
- Special damages sustained as a result of discriminatory conduct
- Attorney's fees and costs
Other Whistleblower Laws
There are many other kinds of federal and state statutes that protect whistleblowers from retaliatory termination and other illegal treatment by their employer. Many of these laws do not provide for a whistleblower to bring an immediate lawsuit wrongfully terminated against an employer. Rather, the complaint must usually be pursued administratively first by filing a complaint with OSHA or the EEOC. If the problem still cannot be resolved, an administrative judge may be appointed to the case to resolve the dispute.
If I Feel I Have Been Wrongfully Terminated because I was a Whistleblower, Should I Hire an Attorney?
Proving that you were terminated for being a whistleblower can be very difficult. There are many kinds of Whistleblower laws, and each can vary widely in terms of the procedures taken to resolve the dispute. A labor lawyer can advise you of your rights, and of what action you can take next. It is also important to contact a lawyer as soon as possible because these laws usually allow only a very short time (some as short as 30 days) to file a complaint.
Consult a Lawyer - Present Your Case Now!
Last Modified: 05-03-2010 03:13 PM PDT