The federal Whistle Blower Protection Act (WPA) protects most federal employees who work in the executive branch. It also requires that federal agencies take appropriate action. The Office of Special Counsel (OSC) was created by this act and is tasked with investigating complaints by the federal employees who claim they were punished for blowing the whistle on their employer. Violations reported include illegal activity, gross mismanagement; gross waste of funds; abuse of authority; and actions which represent a significant and explicit danger to public health or safety.
The False Claims Act is another federal statute that protects whistleblowers who don’t work for the government, but are alleging fraud against the government by federal contractors. It also provides for a financial award to the employee reporting the fraudulent activity by way of a Qui Tam claim.
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) is the organization responsible for administering the provisions of various federal whistleblower protection acts and regulations. To file a complaint with OSHA under one of these statutes, the activity the employee engaged in must be that which has been identified as a protected activity by any of the statutes; his/her employer must have been aware of the activity; and the employer must have subjected the employee to an undesirable action which was at least partially motivated by the protected activity. Timely reporting is an important factor for the successful filing of most whistleblower retaliation complaints. OSHA has regional and area office located throughout the United States.
Most individual states have also enacted their own whistleblower laws, which protect state, public and/or private employees. Unlike their federal counterparts however, these state levels generally do not provide for the payment of compensation to whistleblowers, but instead concentrate on the prevention of retaliatory action toward the whistleblower. (See US Whistleblower Law for a link to a list of individual state whistleblower laws.) Federal law will have precedence over a state law when a conflict occurs. Visit Us at Google+ Copyright HG.org
Whistleblower Law - US
- False Claims Act
The False Claims Act contains qui tam, or whistleblower, provisions. Qui tam is a unique mechanism in the law that allows citizens with evidence of fraud against government contracts and programs to sue, on behalf of the government, in order to recover the stolen funds.
- IRS Whistle Blower - Informant Award
The IRS Whistleblower Office pays money to people who blow the whistle on persons who fail to pay the tax that they owe. If the IRS uses information provided by the whistleblower, it can award the whistleblower up to 30 percent of the additional tax, penalty and other amounts it collects.
- Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002
A landmark whistleblower law also called the Corporate and Criminal Fraud Accountability Act of 2002. It protects employees of publicly-traded corporations from retaliation for reporting alleged violations of any rule or regulation of the Securities and Exchange Commission, or any provision of Federal law relating to fraud against shareholders.
- State Whistleblower Laws
Table of Whistleblower laws on the state level.
- Whistleblower and Retaliation Protections
The Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSH Act) and a number of other laws protect workers against retaliation for complaining to their employers, unions, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), or other government agencies about unsafe or unhealthful conditions in the workplace, environmental problems, certain public safety hazards, and certain violations of federal provisions concerning securities fraud, as well as for engaging in other related protected activities. Whistleblowers may not be transferred, denied a raise, have their hours reduced, or be fired or punished in any other way because they have exercised any right afforded to them under one of the laws that protect whistleblowers.
- Whistleblower Disclosures - US Office of Special Counsel
OSC’s Disclosure Unit (DU) serves as a safe conduit for the receipt and evaluation of whistleblower disclosures from federal employees, former employees, and applicants for federal employment. 5 U.S.C. § 1213.
- Whistleblower Law - Overview
In 1863, the False Claims Act was written to provide a civil penalty "of double the amount of damages suffered by the government, plus a $2,000 forfeiture for each false claim submitted." The law was "enacted to prosecute Civil War manufacturers who substituted sawdust for gunpowder in Union army supplies."
- Whistleblower Laws
This site provides information about False Claims Act qui tam statutes that allow whistleblowers to actually step into the shoes of the government and seek damages on behalf of the government. These False Claims Acts or “Qui Tam Laws” exist at the federal level and have been adopted by 20 states. As the Supreme Court of the United States noted in Rockwell International Corp. v. United States, 127 S.Ct. 1397 (2007),
- Whistleblower Protection Act of 1989
Act that amended title 5, United States Code, to strengthen the protections available to Federal employees against prohibited personnel practices, and for other purposes.
- Whistleblower Protection Enhancement Act of 2007
To amend title 5, United States Code, to clarify which disclosures of information are protected from prohibited personnel practices; to require a statement in nondisclosure policies, forms, and agreements to the effect that such policies, forms, and agreements are consistent with certain disclosure protections, and for other purposes.
Whistleblower Law - Europe
- French Whistleblowing Policy
In May 2005, the French data protection authority (CNIL) refused to approve two ethical hotlines set up by US companies to comply with Section 301 (4) of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act on corporate governance. However, on November 10th 2005, the CNIL adopted a policy setting out a new framework for corporate whistleblowing in France.
- Public Interest Disclosure Act 1998 - UK
An Act to protect individuals who make certain disclosures of information in the public interest; to allow such individuals to bring action in respect of victimisation; and for connected purposes.
Whistleblower Law - International
- United Nations Convention against Corruption (UNCAC)
In its eight Chapters and 71 Articles, the UNCAC obliges the States Parties to implement a wide and detailed range of anti-corruption measures affecting their laws, institutions and practices. These measures aim to promote the prevention, detection and sanctioning of corruption, as well as the cooperation between State Parties on these matters. The UNCAC is unique as compared to other conventions, not only in its global coverage but also in the extensiveness and detail of its provisions.
Organizations Related to Whistleblower Laws
- Government Accountability Project (GAP)
The Government Accountability Project (GAP) is a 30-year-old nonprofit public interest group that promotes government and corporate accountability by advancing occupational free speech, defending whistleblowers, and empowering citizen activists. We pursue this mission through our Nuclear Safety, International Reform, Corporate Accountability, Food & Drug Safety, and Federal Employee/National Security programs. GAP is the nation's leading whistleblower protection organization.
- National Whistleblowers Center
Since 1988, the NWC and attorneys associated with it have supported whistleblowers in the courts and before Congress and achieved victories for environmental protection, government contract fraud, nuclear safety and government and corporate accountability.
Articles on HG.org Related to Whistleblower Law
- For-Profit Nursing Home Employees May Have Whistleblower ClaimsA recent study found that the federal government pays a significant amount of money, for Medicare fraud, to for-profit nursing homes.
- Government Involvement in a False Claims Act CaseBlowing the whistle on fraud that is committed at the expense of U.S. taxpayers is, generally, governed by the federal False Claims Act. The Act allows a private citizen to step into the shoes of and pursue a claim on behalf of the government.
- No Impact on Whistleblower Claims after Off-Label Drugs RulingAlthough off-label prescription drugs are involved in many False Claims Act cases, the Second Circuit Court of Appeals recent decision looks unlikely to have any major impact on whistleblower lawsuits.
- Whistleblower Rewards: A Reason for Taking a RiskThere are risks to blowing the whistle on illegal, corrupt or fraudulent business practices, but there are also protections and incentives built into the process as well.
- The Effect of Government Intervention on a Whistleblower AwardThe False Claims Act was designed to provide an award to encourage potential whistleblowers to come forward and take steps to stop the waste of taxpayer dollars.
- The Different Types of Workplace DiscriminationEmployment Discrimination laws seek to prevent discrimination based on everything from race and sex, to religion and physical ability. A growing body of law also seeks to prevent employment discrimination based on sexual orientation. Discriminatory practices include bias in hiring, promotion, job assignment, termination, compensation, retaliation, and various types of harassment.
- Indigenous Women Share Perspectives on Violence at United NationsWomen have historically been subjected to legal discrimination based on their gender. With the passage of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (42 U.S.C.A. § 2000e et seq.), women are able to use the law to fight sex discrimination in employment, education, domestic relations.
- Felonious WealthWhether it is fraud in Medicare or Medicaid, failing to pay Customs duty, defrauding the government in defense contracts or any other major fraud against the government, it is the taxpayers who suffer. Birkenfeld, an ex-con, stands as one example that anyone can become a whistleblower but he has garnered so much attention because he is so incredibly unusual. Most whistleblowers are good and successful citizens who discover fraud and are horrified by that discovery.
- Georgia Taxpayer Protection False Claims ActThe Georgia Taxpayer Protection False Claims Act (GTPFCA) went into effect on July 1, 2012. The GTPFCA models the federal FCA, but also contains some provisions that are unique. - —Liability and Damages Provisions - The liability and damages provisions under the GTPFCA are similar to those under the federal FCA. For example, an individual will be liable for knowingly presenting or causing the presentation of a false or fraudulent claim for payment or approval, or...
- Indiana False Claims and Whistleblower Protection ActIndiana passed the Indiana False Claims and Whistleblower Protection Act (IFCWPA) in 2005. The IFCWPA generally models the federal FCA, but contains some differences. —Liability and Damages Provisions - Generally, an individual will be liable under the IFCWPA for the same violations as the federal FCA. For example, an individual will be liable for knowingly or intentionally presenting a false claim to the state for payment or approval, or...
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Articles written by attorneys and experts worldwide discussing legal aspects related to Employment and Labor including: discrimination, employee benefits, employees rights, ERISA, human resources law, labor relations, outsourcing, sexual harassment, whistleblower, workers compensation and wrongful termination.