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The Whistleblower Lawyer

VA Employees Step Up Their Whistleblowing Game

South Carolina Government Fraud Lawyer

Veterans have not always been well-treated by the Veterans Administration (VA). However, signs exist that the situation might be changing because of a new, encouraging atmosphere for whistleblowers. The Office of Special Counsel (OSC) has reported that VA whistleblower cases increased dramatically in fiscal year 2015. While whistleblower actions had been on the increase for a few years, in 2015 the number and rate of such actions exploded. The OSC, the independent agency that protects federal whistleblowers and employees from illegal personnel actions, revealed that 755 whistleblower disclosures—an increase of 56 percent over 2014—were reported to them, with many of the new cases originating in the VA.

People on the inside disagree over all the reasons for the strong surge in whistleblowing at the VA. Some believe that the increase simply indicates that problems within the VA continue to grow, including retaliations against those who bring fraud and wrongdoing to light. But others think the enormous increase in whistleblower actions originated with the new secretary of the Veterans Affairs Department, Bob McDonald, who was sworn in during September, 2014. When he took the job, McDonald said that his mission was to protect those who blew the whistle at the VA:

“At VA, we take whistleblower complaints seriously and will not tolerate retaliation against those who raise issues which may enable VA to better serve veterans.”

Credit is also often given to Carolyn Lerner, the OSC’s Special Counsel, for her stellar track record of intervening in cases of retaliation against whistleblowers and generally protecting those who step forward. While the workload at the OSC has increased, so have the successes; in 2015, 278 cases were resolved in favor of employees. Rep. Jeff Miller, R-Fla., chairman of the House Veterans Affairs Committee, commented,

“Thankfully, under the leadership of Special Counsel Carolyn Lerner, the Office of Special Counsel has had a successful track record of intervening to stop retaliation against VA whistleblowers in a number of high profile and important cases.”

One thing that is not in dispute is the increasing numbers of VA whistleblower cases. This rise is joined by an escalation in pursuing improper personnel actions against those who report fraud and wrongdoing. The False Claims Act prohibits retaliation against whistleblowers.

Working with whistleblowers tirelessly to shed light on fraudulent practices.

If you think you have the facts needed to bring a whistleblower case, the experienced whistleblower attorneys at the Louthian Law Firm can review your case and help you file the appropriate disclosure statement. Under some circumstances, the government will intervene, or join in your lawsuit.

Your chances of succeeding are greater if your whistleblower claim is substantive, clear, and to the point. Because of this, meeting with a qualified whistleblower attorney can increase your chances of winning. The Louthian Law Firm can help you form your claim so that the government will be more inclined to intervene in your case; government intervention can sometimes increase the chances of recovering reward money. Even if the government decides not to intervene, it could still be a good idea to pursue your case without government involvement. Our strong support system can assist you through every step of the process.

For a free, confidential evaluation of your case, call the Louthian Law Firm today at 1-803-454-1200 or, if you prefer, you can fill out our online contact form.

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