Am I a Whistleblower?
Whistleblower laws empower the ordinary citizen to take extraordinary steps to protect our values.
What is a whistleblower? A whistleblower is someone who engages in protected activity that essentially helps the government enforce its laws and regulations. The history of whistleblower protections can be traced all the way back to the American Civil War, when Abraham Lincoln signed the False Claims Act. This law provided an incentive for the ordinary citizen to protect the government from fraud, waste, and misconduct. Anyone in the United States has the ability to bring a lawsuit on behalf of the United States via a qui tam action to protect taxpayer money.
Retaliation is when a person or entity (often an employer) takes adverse action against someone who engages in protected activity. Although retaliation is often in an employment context, it is not necessarily limited to employment.
There are many laws that protect whistleblowers. Here are a few that allow for monetary rewards:
- False Claims Act – 31 U.S.C. § 3729-3732
- Internal Revenue Code – 26 U.S.C § 7623
- Securities Exchange Act – 15 U.S.C § 78u-6
- Commodity Exchange Act – 7 U.S.C. § 26
- Financial Institution Reform, Recovery, and Enforcement Act – 12 U.S.C. §§ 4201-10
- Foreign Corrupt Practices Act – 15 U.S.C. §§ 78m, 78dd, 78ff
- Motor Vehicle Safety Act – 49 U.S.C. § 30172
- Act to Prevent Pollution from Ships – 33 U.S.C. § 1908(a)
- Lacey Act – 716 U.S.C. § 3375(d)
- Endangered Species Act – 16 U.S.C. § 1540(d)
- Fish and Wildlife Improvement Act – 16 U.S.C. § 7421(k)
Many states have their own whistleblower statutes. Texas has the following:
- Texas False Claims Act – § 32.039
- Medicaid Fraud Prevention – § 36.001-36.008, § 36.051-36.055, § 36.101-36.117, § 36.131-36.132
- Health and Human Services Commission – § 531.101-531.108, § 531.1061-531.1062, et seq.
Are you a public employee? You might be covered under 42 U.S.C. § 1983.
Do you have information consumer safety hazards and violations? You may be covered under the Consumer Product Safety Act of 2008, 15 U.S.C. § 2087.
Do you work for a publicly-traded company? You might be protected under Dodd-Frank, Sarbanes Oxley, the False Claims Act, or the Consumer Financial Protection Act of 2010.
Do you work for a bank? You might be protected under 12 U.S.C § 1931j or 31 U.S.C. § 5328.
Do you work in transportation? Whether you work in the airline, trucking, automobile, sea shipping, or railroad industries, there is a whistleblower statute to protect you.
The process for pursuing a whistleblower claim is filled with a lot of pitfalls, obstacles, and regulations. Call us. You do not have to go it alone.