In political circles, and even in the media these days, "leaked" information and "whistleblowing" often seem to be used interchangeably to identify behaviors or conduct in a variety of circumstances. The trend recently sparked the Voice of America to delve into the similarities (if any) and differences between individuals who "leak news" and whistleblowers who come forward with information. Matthew Miller is a former director of Public Affairs for the Department of Justice.
He believes that it is important for people to understand the important distinctions between news leaks and whistleblowing. True whistleblowers are not only upstanding individuals who help to protect public safety and abusive billing practices that cost taxpayers billions of dollars each year. Matthew Miller indicates in the VOA report that information from true whistleblowers differs substantially from leaked secret government information that can endanger innocent lives.
Whistleblowers Enjoy Legal Protections Under Wisconsin And Federal Laws
Notably, the False Claims Act (and other federal and state laws), protects whistleblowers in Wisconsin who bring forth information about unlawful acts in the workplace, as well as fraud in government contracts. We recently discussed how whistleblowers were instrumental in helping the federal government recover $2.5 billion last year related to fraudulent health care claims.
Unfortunately, many workers who are aware of fraudulent billing practices in the health care industry and other businesses that do business with government agencies are unaware that legal protections are in place. Lawmakers have long recognized how difficult it is for government agencies to detect fraud. For that reason, laws like the FCA are in place to help workers do what is right for Wisconsin and American taxpayers.
Whistleblowers May Receive Compensation In A False Claims Act Lawsuit
The FCA allows individuals to file a lawsuit upon evidence of fraud in many situations. Not only are the whistleblowers entitled to receive a portion of any settlement or verdict that results from the lawsuit, but they also receive workplace protection against retribution from an employer for bringing forth a False Claims Act lawsuit.
If you are aware of fraud related to a government contract, or have witnessed other unlawful acts in the workplace, you may be having difficulty sleeping at night. You may be able to sleep better at night after discussing your concerns over unlawful activity with a seasoned employment law attorney with experience in whistleblower claims (sometimes referred to in legalese as qui tam claims).