Feeling powerless at work due to threatening behavior from leadership or colleagues is a lonely, vulnerable position. If an employer or colleague has asked an individual to engage in, or overlook, fraudulent or illegal activities, legal action can be taken. Individuals in Wisconsin can seek protection and receive just compensation for any injury suffered for reporting the illegal activity through a "qui tam" lawsuit.
Many Wisconsin employees may feel they are able to bring safety concerns to the attention of their employer without fear of retaliation. However, this is not the case for many employees around the country. One engineer from a northwestern state brought several safety issues to the attention of his employer regarding a project worth billions of dollars. He claims that he suffered retaliation and was even fired from his job directly as a consequence of his being a whistleblower.
Though Wisconsin workers appreciate the protection of the law, their lives and careers can still be damaged by pressure from higher authorities to commit illegal acts. Everyone has a right to speak out against these abuses without fear of punishment, and those who assert it are often justly rewarded. Whistleblowers perform a public service by upholding what is ethical and fair, but in doing so, they also assume great risk. A whistleblower employee in Wisconsin can be protected under various circumstances, no matter the area of litigation.
Fraudulent acts occur every day, and many people are able to commit crimes without consequence. When fraud is suspected, Wisconsin citizens can file a whistleblower claim against a person or business that committed fraud against the U.S. government. Recently, one American whistleblower was sentenced to a yearlong term in federal prison, for not coming to the authorities with knowledge of the fraudulent actions sooner.
Recently, a whistleblower case was closed to bring a major violation to light that resulted in an approximately $14 million payout. After discovering fraudulent activity, an individual volunteered a tip to the Securities and Exchange Commission. The SEC was able to recoup investor funds after further investigation. As in this case, Wisconsin residents should be aware that they can contact the federal whistleblower program when suspecting an employer, colleague or any individual to be engaged in illegal activities that result in monetary benefits or personal gain.
Wisconsin residents have undoubtedly heard that one of the factors that experts have said contributed to the recession was a growing number of questionable loans being made by large banks. A credit audit specialist employed by Morgan Stanley began to notice that the lending standards at the institution were declining after 2004. Now, the whistleblower says that when he attempted to bring this to the attention of his superiors, he suffered a campaign of retaliation.
Many university faculty members in Wisconsin and elsewhere are committed to both the students and the academic institution for which they work. This may create conflict if the faculty member feels that the university is deliberately misleading students. A jury just awarded a former dean at Globe University $400,000 in her whistleblower trial after she claims she was terminated because she voiced concerns about students being misled in regards to their job prospects.
It's rarely easy for employees to make the decision to file whistleblower suits against the companies for which they work. Many understandably fear that they will have to face retaliation from their employers. However, Wisconsin and federal law provide protections for a whistleblower claim, especially when it has to do with the False Claims Act. Under this law, those who hold government contracts can face lawsuits filed by citizens on behalf of the government if the citizens can show evidence of fraud.
When an employee has a sense of loyalty to the company with which he or she works, it can be difficult to admit that there may be some wrongdoing or inaccurate information being circulated. Should an employee, including those in Wisconsin, feel that there is information that needs to be corrected, they could be deemed a whistleblower and face retaliation from employers or co-workers. Company reputations can be damaged if it is found out that false claims were made, and they may wish to take measures to ensure that negative publicity does not circulate.
When dealing with the government, companies need to be careful of overselling their products and services. Many times companies in Wisconsin and elsewhere may end up crossing the line of legality by misrepresenting their services or product in order to obtain larger profits. One company was accused of doing just this when a whistleblower turned the company in to the authorities for violations of the False Claims Act.