Learn About the Laws Designed to Shield People Who Blow the Whistle on Corruption
Multiple federal and state laws protect government and private employees from retaliation when they blow the whistle on fraud and abuse. There are currently at least 18 federal statutes that include whistleblower provisions. South Carolina also has statutes in place to protect public and private employees in certain instances. Sadly, however, retaliation still happens and it can come in many forms, including harassment, demotions, firings and more.
If you have been retaliated against, we can advise you about the laws that may apply in your circumstances and work to ensure your rights are upheld. Call the experienced whistleblower attorneys at Louthian Law Firm, P.A. at (803) 454-1200 to learn more about whistleblower protections and how we can assist you.
Understanding the Major Laws That Protect Whistleblowers
Whistleblowers perform a valuable role in society by calling out fraud and unethical activities related to government contracts, healthcare, banking and other areas. To encourage brave individuals to come forward and report abuses at risk of their livelihoods, antifraud laws have been put in place that allow whistleblowers legal protections when they report illegal misconduct by employers.
False Claims Act
The country’s first whistleblower law, the False Claims Act, was put in place by President Lincoln in 1862 to protect against abuses by suppliers during the Civil War. Since that time, the law has been revised several times, further increasing its power in fighting against government contractor corruption. The Act, which allows people or entities to bring fraud claims on behalf of the U.S. government, entitles whistleblowers who face retribution to file lawsuits seeking relief through reinstatement, back pay and compensation for damages such as attorney and litigation costs. If you believe you are a victim of retribution, ask our False Claims Act violation attorneys for help.
Two years after the country’s 2008 economic collapse, the Dodd-Frank Act was instituted to target corruption in the financial sector. Whistleblowers covered under the Dodd-Frank Act’s protections are people who come forward to report fraud in areas regulated by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. These whistleblowers might be banking employees, consultants, accountants or anyone with documented proof of wrongdoing by a financial entity. Similar to cases regarding the False Claims Act, when whistleblowers in these cases are retaliated against, provisions in Dodd-Frank entitle them to a jury trial and, if they win, reinstatement to their jobs and back pay, as well as compensation for legal fees. Our
The Stark Law, also called the Physician Self-Referral Law, was enacted in 1989 to prevent Medicare and Medicaid fraud. In basic terms, the law prohibits physicians and other healthcare providers from referring Medicare and Medicaid patients for designated health services to facilities where the provider or their immediate family members have financial interests. Whistleblowers who report Stark law violations are often doctors or other employees within medical facilities who recognize the abuse that is taking place.
Kickbacks are basically secret arrangements between parties involving money, services or goods that benefit those parties. When these kickbacks happen among doctors, hospitals and other medical providers in relation to Medicare, Medicaid and other federal healthcare programs, it can seriously affect the quality of patient care. It is also a crime under the anti-kickback statute. Known as the AKS, this federal anti-fraud law prohibits physicians and other providers from knowingly exchanging remuneration for patient referrals or generating business. Remuneration basically means anything of value. This law differs from the Stark Law because it prohibits referrals for any item or service, not just designated health services. Medical providers who are found to have violated this law face fines and potential jail time.
People who report violations of this kickback statute are protected by whistleblower protections laws. If you have questions about the anti-kickback statute, call us at (803) 454-1200.
Additional Whistleblower Protections
There are many other federal and state legal statutes that include whistleblower protection laws for workers in various industries. There are protections in place for longshoremen and harbor employees, migrant and seasonal agricultural workers, auto workers, miners, food processing and workers in other industries who blow the whistle. When these whistleblowers are retaliated against, there are legal steps to take and we can help.
Our attorneys at Louthian Law Firm in Columbia, SC are knowledgeable about whistleblower protection laws and how they apply in different industries. If you were retaliated against, we will review your matter and advise you about your rights under the applicable whistleblower protection laws. Contact us at (803) 454-1200.