The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs has been beset in recent years by scandals, including here in Wisconsin at the Tomah facility about three hours northwest of Milwaukee. The scandals that have plagued VA hospitals across the nation have come to light because of the bravery of whistleblowers who will not turn a blind eye to misconduct.
The fight to stop fraud against the federal government goes beyond the initial headlines, however. Far too often, whistleblowers must contend with unlawful retaliation after they shine a light on malfeasance. Fortunately, an experienced employment law attorney can protect a whistleblower.
We read recently of a man who holds an important position in the Department of Veterans Affairs’ Northern Indiana Health Care System. The chief of engineering services says that ever since he sounded the alarm on fraudulent contracts at area VA hospitals, he has been assigned to a remote office with no work assignments.
“I sit there all day. I do nothing,” he said. “Nobody talks to me. I’m isolated from everyone and everything.”
The caseload at the VA’s Office of Accountability and Whistleblower Protection makes it plain that supervisor revenge on whistleblowers is not uncommon at the federal agency. People who point out fraud have been unfairly, unlawfully fired, demoted or denied promotions.
The law is clear: retaliation is prohibited. Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 makes that plain, as does the Wisconsin Fair Employment Act.
Blowing the whistle on corruption should be carefully considered and discussed with a lawyer experienced in protecting clients who report illegal activities or employer wrongdoing. Contact Alan C. Olson & Associates to discuss the legal options available in your situation.