Can My Employer Retaliate?
Whistleblower Attorneys in Washington, D.C.
Many dangers to public health and safety and other violations of the law go unreported because the people who know about them fear retaliation from their employer. With a person’s livelihood, health insurance, and pension on the line, fear can be the biggest deterrent to reporting unlawful conduct.
However, the False Claims Act (also called the Lincoln Law) has several provisions that protect employees from retaliation, and further encourages reporting potentially fraudulent activities through a 15-25 percent share of any recovered damages.
Additionally, most laws that protect workers, like health and safety laws, wage and hour protections, and antidiscrimination laws, make it illegal for employers to retaliate against an employee for whistleblowing. If the wrongdoer takes any action to demote, terminate, harass, or discriminate against an employee in any way after he or she has acted as a whistleblower, the employee has the right to sue for damages.
How can I prove I was unlawfully retaliated against?
In order to successfully sue for damages, most anti-retaliation laws require that a victim prove the following:
- The whistleblower engaged in protected activity in order to help enforce the law
(i.e. testifying as a witness, reporting a violation, etc.)
- The employer knew or believed that an individual engaged in the protected activity
- The whistleblower suffered an adverse employment action
(i.e. discrimination, harassment, demotion, or termination)
- The whistleblower’s protected activity was the cause of the employer’s adverse employment action
Causation can be proved either by direct evidence or by inference. In some cases, causation is clear; the timing and specific actions may speak for themselves. In other cases, employers who know it is illegal to retaliate may try to cover up their conduct. A judge will likely infer unlawful retaliation from things like deviation from normal practices, the use of false evidence, changing explanations, or a pattern of actions against those who have challenged or spoken against the employer.
Are You a Victim of Employer Retaliation?
The United States government protects your right to report illegal activity without the threat of losing your job. If you have acted as a whistleblower and have experienced negative action from your employer, please get in touch with an experienced Washington, D.C. whistleblower attorney at Chaikin, Sherman, Cammarata & Siegel, P.C. today. We are prepared to investigate your situation and help you understand your qui tam rights.
Trusted and respected in Washington, D.C. for more than 45 years, you can count on our hard-hitting legal strategies to protect your rights and your employment. Our office can be reached at (202) 659-8600. Call today for a free consultation regarding your whistleblower case.