Fraud and corruption cost taxpayers billions of dollars every year, either in direct costs or in indirect costs due to the waste of government money. For this reason, the government enacted laws such as the False Claims Act to protect those individuals who come forth with evidence of corruption or other criminal activity in their place of work. These laws are designed to protect whistleblowers from employer retaliation and to allow them to secure compensation if they do face unlawful retaliation.
Choosing to become a whistleblower is a momentous decision, but there are a number of reasons why an employee should consider revealing his or her employer’s unlawful actions. When considering why you should be a whistleblower, it is important to also consult with an experienced attorney to ensure that the whistleblower’s position is legally secure.
Preventing Fraud and Waste
Whistleblowers help to eliminate fraud and waste. While government regulatory agencies are often overworked and unable to act, an individual whistleblower can bring these cases to light in a way that allows subsequent regulatory action. By doing so, the whistleblower can prevent the loss of millions of dollars of wasted funds, helping both the government and private citizens who were unwittingly funding the fraudulent activity.
Eliminating Harmful Activities
Many whistleblower actions have centered on practices that are not just financially harmful, but have also resulted in avoidable injury or death for many Americans. For example, some whistleblower actions have revealed the practice of concealing dangerous side effects on the part of popular prescription and nonprescription drugs. In this case, a whistleblower can help protect the lives of his or her fellow Americans due to an company’s unlawful actions.
Eliminating a Corrosive Corporate Culture
Illegal activity often also fosters a corrupt and corrosive businesses environment. A whistleblower can help higher management obtain the information needed to eliminate internal corruption that could otherwise result in the organization’s ultimate destruction. In most cases, a whistleblower will leave a healthier organization in place after he or she has notified the authorities. Helping to eliminate business corruption is one of the most important reasons why you should be a whistleblower.
The Financial Benefits of Whistleblowing
When a whistleblower, acting as a relator, brings a qui tam action on behalf of the United States government, they may obtain anywhere from 15 to 25 percent of the final award or settlement. Depending on the scale of the fraudulent activity, these awards can be very large. Although this is not the only reason why you should be a whistleblower, this practice ensures that a whistleblower can be compensated for his or her socially responsible actions. However, a whistleblower cannot bring a qui tam action to court without the assistance of a lawyer. It is important to note that whistleblowing is an action that can have substantial professional, personal and legal consequences. Because of this, anyone considering engaging in whistleblower activity should contact an attorney.
By consulting with the law offices of Eric J. Hertz, P.C., a whistleblower can obtain the skilled legal advice he or she needs in order to effectively determine the best possible course of action.