Whistleblower Rights in the Workplace

Posted in Whistle Blowing,Wrongful Termination on June 20, 2016

Female blowing a whistleAre there laws to protect you from being fired when you report wrongdoing by your employer? A question many corporate whistleblowers ask themselves. A whistleblower is an employee who learns a boss, co-worker or company has broken the law and reports their misdeeds to an outside party. Your honesty and courage are protected by state and federal laws. Therefore, do not fear the consequences of your actions. State and federal laws will keep your misbehaving employer from retaliating against you. There are statutes to protect you from being fired or wrongfully terminated by your employer. First, you are protected by the False Claims Act. This law gives you the right and freedom to report any fraudulent activities without fear of retaliation. This law deals mainly with the federal government and federal contractors. Many cities and states have their own version of the False Claims Act.

The New York City False Claims Act protects all city employees including those working for elected officials, such as the City Council, Borough Presidents, and the New York City Comptroller. Their jobs will not be in jeopardy for reporting misconduct, criminal behavior, corruption, mismanagement of funds, conflicts of interests and abuse of power. Whistleblowers can bring suit in the name of the City of New York when someone tries to defraud the city or state of taxpayer money.

According to the New York City Law Department website, “On May 19, 2005, Mayor Bloomberg signed into law the New York City False Claims Act (Local Law 53 of 2005), which authorizes citizens to bring lawsuits to recover treble damages for fraudulent claims submitted to the City. An important new tool with which the City can fight fraud perpetrated against it, the statute creates a way for people to help the City recover money lost through fraud, and is patterned after the federal “Qui Tam” statute. As an incentive to bring suits, this new law allows successful citizen plaintiffs, under certain circumstances, to keep as much as 30% of funds they help recover.”

There is a national law that protects whistleblowers working in a publicly traded company called the Sarbanes-Oxley (SOX) Act of 2002. SOX was created to curb widespread fraud that many large corporations were practicing during that time. Companies covered by SOX are corporations that are registered under the Securities Exchange Act and required to file reports with the Security Exchange Commission. Contractors and agents of these companies are covered by the law. You can file a claim under this law against an employer who violates it. A wrongful termination attorney can assist you in filing your claim. SOX provides comprehensive protections for all corporate whistleblowers. It contains civil and criminal provisions. The law prohibits employment discrimination for workers employed by publicly traded companies and protects whistleblowers from any retaliation by their employers. Retaliation action by an employer may include:

  • A demotion in your employment
  • Not providing overtime pay or promotions
  • Threats of firing or actually firing a person
  • A decrease in work hours or schedule
  • A reduction in wages
  • Withholding benefits from an employee
  • Mistreatment involving harassment or intimidation tactics

If your employer (or former employer) has wrongfully terminated you for whistleblowing or violated your employment rights, you may be entitled to compensation. Please contact the Law Offices of Joseph & Norinsberg.  Their lawyers will provide an honest assessment of the strengths and weaknesses of your case. If your case merits going to court, the attorneys at the Law Offices of Joseph & Norinsberg will work diligently to help you find the justice you deserve. Contact the Law Offices of Joseph & Norinsberg at (212) JUSTICE or at info@employeejustice.com for a free initial consultation.

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