A Whistleblower Lawyer Provides Important Protection You Need
Whistleblowers provide an important service to society – our whistleblower lawyers will protect you so you can keep your job and continue to serve.
Workers who identify wrongdoing by employers and want to speak out may feel they need protection. A Tampa whistleblower lawyer is the resource a worker needs to ensure they can safely blow the whistle without fear.
People who speak out against illegal or fraudulent situations existing in their workplace may face termination, harassment, or retaliation by their employers. Since Florida is an at-will work state, which means employees can be fired at any time for any reason, workers who identify wrongdoing by employers and want to speak out about it often need protection. Fortunately, there is help available from a Tampa whistleblower attorney to ensure workers can safely blow the whistle without fear.
State and federal laws protect employees who threaten to blow the whistle on or who refuse to go along with unlawful conduct. Even in an at-will state like Florida, employers are not allowed to terminate or retaliate against employees if the termination is in violation of a statute. Florida has both a private employee and public employee whistleblower statute that protects employees who suffer adverse employment action after objecting to unlawful employer conduct.
Feldman Legal Group represents employees throughout Florida and Georgia in whistleblower litigation. Our Tampa whistleblower attorneys have helped workers who exposed wrongdoing obtain compensation for their sacrifices. Our accomplished trial lawyers have litigated on behalf of plaintiffs and the defense, including federal whistleblower claims (Whistleblower Protection Act) and whistleblower claims under state jurisdiction (Florida Whistleblowers Act). We also pursue qui tam lawsuits, in which a person who exposes a company’s fraud can claim a percentage of any money the government recovers in its prosecution.
A TAMPA WHISTLEBLOWER ATTORNEY KNOWS FLORIDA’S WHISTLEBLOWER STATUTES
Our seasoned whistleblower attorneys in Tampa work with the law to help you.
Florida laws provide employees broad protection under its two main whistleblower statutes as well as other statutes. These include:
Protections for Public Employees
According to Florida law (Fla. Stat. § 112.3187), public employees may not be discharged or discriminated against in retaliation for disclosure of information regarding violations of federal, state, or local law or any act or suspected act of gross mismanagement, waste, Medicaid fraud or abuse, or gross neglect of duty committed by an agency or independent contractor. Employers may not dismiss, discipline, retaliate, or take any other adverse personnel action against an employee for disclosing such information.
Protections for Private Sector Employees
According to Florida law (Fla. Stat. § 448.102), employees may not be discharged or discriminated against for disclosing or threatening to disclose to an appropriate governmental agency a practice of the employer that is in violation of a law, rule, or regulation. Whistleblowing employees are required to bring the matter to the attention of a supervisor in writing and give the employer a reasonable opportunity to correct the activity, policy, or practice. Also, an employee may not be retaliated against for participation in an investigation or for refusing to participate in a violation.
In addition, there are other whistleblower protections, including:
- Florida common law protections fill in the gaps where no statute exists for a given situation.
- Other various Florida statutes also include protections against retaliation, including against termination because of the filing of a worker’s compensation claim.
- Federal laws provide whistleblowing workers doing business with the government, Department of Justice (DOJ), and FBI employees with additional protections from retaliation for protected disclosures.
- Private contracts or collective bargaining agreements may protect employees from certain forms of retaliation.
OSHA whistleblower protections. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration administers more than twenty whistleblower protection laws, including Section 11(c) of the Occupational Safety and Health (OSH) Act, which prohibits retaliation against employees who complain about unsafe or unhealthful conditions or exercise other rights under the Act.
HOW OUR WHISTLEBLOWER LAW FIRM CAN WORK TO PROTECT YOU
Our diligent Tampa whistleblower attorneys will deal with all legal processes to fight for your rights and prevent employers from retaliating.
Whistleblower cases have unusual and detailed legal requirements because it must be shown that there was knowing fraud involved and not just mistakes. Our attorneys must, therefore, be able to present detailed evidence of fraud in order to win a whistleblower or qui tam case or other case.
Whistleblowing employees, or those who would like to report fraud or wrongdoing, are often unsure of what their rights are and may be afraid of losing their jobs if they speak up and report problems. When you have an experienced whistleblower lawyer on your side, you no longer have to be afraid. We handle whistleblower cases related to defense contractor fraud, Medicare fraud, SEC fraud, OSHA whistleblowers, and other related cases. If you’re considering blowing the whistle, we can help. Know that our lawyers will:
- Evaluate your situation to make sure you have a valid whistleblower case.
- Explain the law, your rights to protection, and the options you may have.
- Investigate the wrongdoing and gather facts and evidence to show that there was fraud, corruption, or violation of a law, rule, or regulation. This includes interviewing witnesses and coworkers, examining photos or surveillance videos that show problems, and documenting the retaliating steps your employer took against you.
- File all paperwork in a timely manner, present evidence, and handle all legal procedures to advocate on your behalf and help you file a whistleblowing or qui tam lawsuit or negotiate an out-of-court settlement.
A WHISTLEBLOWING LAWSUIT MAY BRING REWARDS FOR EXPOSING FRAUD
Our whistleblower lawyers in Tampa can help you get a settlement.
When a company, nonprofit organization, governmental body, or individual knowingly files phony claims against a government program or otherwise misuses or misappropriates federal funds, private citizens may sue that entity or person under the False Claims Act.
Whistleblower and qui tam laws are also unique in that they allow individuals to bring forward claims of fraud on behalf of the federal or state government. Revealing this kind of information takes courage and an understanding of the process to be successful. The cases require thorough research of factual and legal issues. Having a skilled and experienced whistleblower lawyer on your side can make all the difference.
If you are aware of fraudulent billing or other deceptive wrongdoing by a person or entity – whether it is a healthcare organization, billing company, military contractor, pharmaceutical company, or financial institution – we will guide you through the process, first to validate the claim and then to pursue it in accordance with all legal requirements.
Citizens who expose fraud against the government may be entitled to share in any financial recovery when the government prosecutes the wrongdoers. A qui tam lawsuit acknowledges both the assistance and the sacrifice of the whistleblower, who may suffer backlash for bringing the criminal activity to light.
Qui Tam Attorneys
A qui tam lawsuit is brought by an employee, former employee or private citizen who has become aware of the fraud. If any of the ill-gotten money is recovered in a subsequent investigation and prosecution, the citizen who initiated the lawsuit is entitled to a portion of the recovery. Successful plaintiffs commonly receive 15 percent and as much as 30 percent, which might amount to thousands or hundreds of thousands of dollars.
Only the first person to file suit and provide evidence of false claims or government fraud will receive a share of the government’s recovery. That person cannot be an executive or employee who was complicit in the fraud.
A copy of the lawsuit is provided to federal and state authorities. If the government investigates and finds merit, the U.S. Attorney or Attorney General typically takes over the lawsuit, but the citizen retains qui tam rights. Under the False Claims Act, wrongdoers are subject to treble damages (three times the amount of defrauded funds). If the government declines to take the case, the whistleblower can proceed with the lawsuit on his or her own.
WHISTLEBLOWER ATTORNEYS ANSWER YOUR QUESTIONS
If you are involved in whistleblowing, you are bound to have questions and concerns. Here are some answers to questions our attorneys are often asked.
How do I file a whistleblower or retaliation claim in Florida?
Before doing anything, it’s best to consult a whistleblower employment lawyer to help you file the appropriate claim with the appropriate agency to ensure that everything is done correctly in accordance with the law and time limit requirements.
Are there time limits for filing a whistleblower claim?
In general, employees in the private sector may file a wrongful discharge lawsuit in an appropriate court within 2 (two) years of discovering the alleged personnel action was taken.
Public employees generally must file a claim within 180 days of receiving notice of the termination of the investigation of the claim filed with the Florida Commission on Human Relations.
If you believe you have a claim, you should contact a lawyer right away.
What are some examples of employer retaliation?
In addition to firing, demotions, wage reductions, suspensions, reductions in benefits, bad-faith decisions concerning transfers, and denials of raises and promotions are also forms of whistleblower retaliation. They are all illegal.
Who is considered to be a whistleblower?
According to the Florida Public Whistleblower’s Act, a whistleblower can be any employee or person who:
- discloses information on their own initiative in a written and signed complaint;
- are requested to participate in an investigation, hearing, or other inquiry;
- refuses to participate in any adverse action prohibited by this section;
- files any written complaint to their supervisory officials; or
- submits a complaint to the CIG, the Agency Inspector General, Whistleblower’s Hotline, or to the Florida Commission on Human Relations.
DID YOU BLOW THE WHISTLE ON FRAUD OR ABUSE?
Reporting the illegal actions of your employer can result in retaliation or wrongful termination. The public counts on whistleblowers, and that’s why there are legal protections in place for them. If unlawful actions were taken against you after you blew the whistle, the attorneys at the Feldman Legal Group have the experience to provide you with skillful, aggressive representation.
Our legal team is here to discuss your situation and determine the best way to help. Find out what we can do to help you.
WHAT ACTIONS ARE PROTECTED?
Whistleblower laws may be invoked when an employee alleges adverse employment actions after reporting or filing any of these actions.
- Fraud against the government
- Workers’ compensation claims
- Environmental abuses
- Civil rights violations (discrimination, harassment)
- Other criminal activity or regulatory violations
- Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) safety violations
- Wage and hour claims under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA)
Skilled Trial Lawyers
Our accomplished trial lawyers at Feldman Legal Group have litigated on behalf of plaintiffs and the defense, including federal whistleblower claims (Whistleblower Protection Act) and whistleblower claims under state jurisdiction (Florida Whistleblowers Act). We also pursue qui tam lawsuits, in which a person who exposes a company’s fraud can claim a percentage of any money the government recovers in its prosecution.
SEEK HELP FROM A TAMPA WHISTLEBLOWER ATTORNEY
If you want to blow the whistle and are unsure of your rights, contact our firm for an analysis of your case.
We have extensive experience representing private and public employees who have suffered wrongful termination or other adverse employment action from blowing the whistle on an employer’s illegal activity.
Don’t delay. many federal and state laws intended to protect whistleblowers have short and strict time deadlines for action. Therefore, if you are the victim of whistleblower retaliation, it is imperative that you seek legal counsel immediately.
Call one of our offices in Tampa, Jacksonville, Orlando, or Atlanta, Georgia, to discuss your potential action with a knowledgeable attorney. Managing shareholder Mitchell Feldman oversees our civil litigation practice and is licensed in state and federal courts.
Feldman Legal Group represents either party in whistleblower retaliation cases and qui tam actions. Our Tampa whistleblower lawyers have helped employees or private citizens initiate qui tam actions against fraudulent businesses, and we have defended companies accused of wrongdoing by disgruntled former employees or other individuals.
Feldman Legal Group typically handles qui tam cases on a contingency fee basis. You will not be required to pay a fee unless and until there is a monetary recovery. Call today.