Virginia Beach Attorneys Protect Whistleblowers’ Rights
Quality representation for unlawful retaliation and qui tam cases
Public policy in the Commonwealth of Virginia and throughout the United States favors exposing illegal business activity, especially where the victim is the government. If you know of such activity, you may need legal advice regarding how to alert legal authorities or the victim of your employer’s unlawful actions so that you are protected against adverse actions your employer might take in retaliation. If your employer fires, demotes, or reassigns you, or takes any other punitive actions, you may be entitled to compensation for your losses. Unfortunately, many attorneys are reluctant to take on these hard-to-prove cases, so employers often punish whistleblowers with impunity. That’s why you should contact The Law Office of Jeremiah A. Denton III. We’ve built our reputation over more than 30 years by applying hard work to complex cases and delivering excellent results.
Whistleblower rights under the Virginia statute
Under Virginia’s Fraud and Abuse Whistle Blower Protection Act, the commonwealth prohibits employers from discharging, threatening, discriminating or retaliating against whistleblowers acting on their own initiative or responding to a subpoena from an appropriate authority. However, the whistleblower must make allegations of wrongdoing in good faith; the law does not protect employees who make false accusations negligently, recklessly or maliciously. Finally, an employer can discipline a whistleblower for misconduct unrelated to the whistleblowing activity. A whistleblower who suffers unlawful retaliation can seek damages. Whistleblowing activity that results in a savings to the commonwealth of at least $10,000 may be eligible for a reward from Virginia’s Fraud and Abuse Whistle Blower Reward Fund.
Federal protections of whistleblower activity
There are several federal laws that provide protections for whistleblowers in different circumstances. Our attorneys work with clients with claims related to:
- Whistleblower Protection Act — This federal law protects U.S. government employees and job applicants from discrimination based on their prior whistleblowing activity with regard to a violation of a law, rule or regulation; gross mismanagement; gross waste of funds; an abuse of authority; or a substantial and specific danger to public health or safety.
- Whistleblower Protection Enhancement Act of 2012 — This law protects employees of the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) who disclose evidence of waste, fraud, or abuse.
- Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002 — This law, known as SOX, protects corporate whistleblowers from discrimination and empowers courts and administrative agencies to award monetary damages and equitable remedies, such as reinstatement. It also requires publicly traded companies to create mechanisms for employees to file whistleblower complaints, requires corporate attorneys under certain circumstances to report their clients’ unlawful behavior, and grants authority to the SEC to enforce these provisions. SOX also criminalizes retaliation by any employer against whistleblowers who provide truthful information about possible violations of federal law.
- Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act of 2010 — This law requires that in cases where a whistleblower’s tip leads to enforcement actions that result in sanctions greater than $1 million, the SEC must pay a bounty to the whistleblower of between 10 and 30 percent of the sanctions. To qualify, the whistleblower must voluntarily give information that is not already known to the SEC investigators. Dodd-Frank also expanded anti-retaliation provisions for certain situations.
- False Claims Act — Also known as the Lincoln Law, this statute allows whistleblowers to file qui tam lawsuits alleging fraud against the government and to share in the government’s recovery if fraud is proven.
If you are considering stepping forward as a whistleblower, our firm can provide professional and personalized representation to give you immediate peace of mind and sound guidance throughout the legal process.
Proving a discriminatory motive in your whistleblower retaliation case
To prevail in a whistleblower lawsuit against your employer, you must be able to prove a “discriminatory motive.” That means presenting clear evidence that your employer’s discipline or mistreatment of you was in response to your whistleblowing and not due to poor job performance or any unrelated factor. That burden of proof can make a whistleblower case difficult to win. Fortunately, our firm has built its reputation on getting excellent results from cases that other attorneys might turn down. Our hard work and determination can lead to excellent results for you.
Contact our Virginia Beach attorneys for determined whistleblower representation
The Law Office of Jeremiah A. Denton III provides reliable guidance and skilled trial representation in state and federal whistleblower cases. To learn about your rights, speak to a knowledgeable lawyer today. To schedule an appointment, call 757-215-4818 or contact our Virginia Beach office online.