What Is the Process of Whistleblowing?
Are you working for an individual or company that appears to be operating outside the bounds of the law? Do you witness shady or blatantly illegal practices in the workplace on a daily basis? If so, it is important to know that you can take action. Under the Whistleblower Protection Act (WPA) and the Corporate and Criminal Fraud Accountability Act (CCFAA), employees who witness fraudulent, criminal, or grossly unethical activity from their employer may report the act to authorities for a monetary reward without fear of any sort of retaliation or mistreatment. But what steps must an employee take to “blow the whistle” against their employer?
Steps of the Whistleblowing Procedure
When filing a whistleblower claim:
- Hire a powerful Attorneys: Your chances of justice being served are only as good as the Attorneys you have by your side. A skilled lawyer with experience handling whistleblower claims can advise you on ways to legally gather evidence against your employer and protect your professional reputation.
- Make sure you have evidence: Rumors of misconduct spread in break rooms and around water coolers are not grounds to file a whistleblower claim unless they can be backed up with concrete evidence. The government will not pay you a reward for bringing them questionable gossip of misdeeds, but rather specific proof, such as emails, internal studies, billing records, test results, names, contact information of involved parties, and other forms of documentary evidence. It is imperative you keep this evidence and information confidential. Revealing fraud to a third-party or making your investigation known to your employer could cause you to no longer be covered under most whistleblower provisions and prompt your employer to take action against you. The stronger the evidence you have, the better.
- File a complaint: Whistleblowers must file a complaint in court and submit it to the federal government with a Disclosure Statement that details the suspected misconduct. Your Attorneys can set up a meeting with the appropriate government agency and help you create a compelling argument to convince the government to conduct an investigation.
- Play the waiting game: If the government should decide to proceed forward with your case, it is important to be patient and prepare for the long haul. The government’s investigation into your employer’s alleged wrongdoing can take months if not years from start to finish.
- Prepare to be “outed”: While your anonymity will be somewhat protected during this time as cases are filed under a seal, there is no way to guarantee that your employer will not find out about your filing. While unlikely, it important you prepare yourself to be “outed” and the consequences that it may bring. Do not be surprised if your employer attempts to fight back by alleging that you were privy to the wrongdoing or that you even participated in it. It is generally recommended you search for a new job as soon as possible after filing a whistleblower claim.
- Be prepared to testify: If the government decides to take action against your employer based on the results of its investigation, you may be asked to testify at a grand jury proceeding or during trial. It is important you be prepared to reveal your identity, since your testimony may have a considerable impact on the outcome of the case. At this point, roughly 90% of whistleblower cases the government chooses to pursue are successful, resulting in the whistleblower receiving a considerable portion of the government’s recovery.
Contact John P. Mahoney, Esq. Today
If you believe your employer has participated in some form of illegal activity or gross misconduct, Washington D.C. federal employment attorney John P. Mahoney can review your case and help you explore the possibility of pursuing legal action. Backed by an AV® Preeminent™ Rating by Martindale-Hubbell® and more than two decades of employment law experience, our firm can provide the aggressive advocacy you need to maximize your chances of success.
Call (877) 771-2231 today or get in touch with us online today to discuss your case.
Blog Author: Attorney John P. Mahoney, Esq.
John P. Mahoney, Esq. is an award-winning attorney with 25+ years of experience. Visit his bio to learn more about his experience representing the federal sector community.
More Blogs By John P. Mahoney, Esq.: