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Whistleblowing

California Attorney Glenn Nunes Provides Critical Advice to Whistleblowers

Is your employer breaking the law and you don’t want to go along with it anymore?  Has your supervisor pressured you to go along?  Have some lawyers painted a rosy picture of how things will go after you complain?

Whistleblower is the common term for a person, often an employee, who reveals wrongdoing by a company in the form of fraud, corruption or other illegal activity.  Starting with the first qui tam law, the False Claims Act passed during the Civil War, the U.S. government and almost every state have passed a maze of laws offering employees and civilians incentives to report unlawful activity and providing protection from retaliation, including  Yet, many of the most significant changes are not the statutes that have been passed but the reaction of government regulators.  Some of the major areas of whisteblowing include:  airline safety (the Aviation Investment & Reform Act); banking & financial institutions (the Dodd–Frank Wall Street Reform and Sarbanes-Oxley Acts); the Consumer Financial Protection Act of 2010; consumer product safety at the state and federal level; Corruption Protection Act of 2016 concerning corruption in federal spending; criminal obstruction of justic / RICO; discrimination laws at the state and federal level; environmental protection laws; first amendment protection for public employees; Financial Institutions Reform, Recovery & Enforcement Act; food safety protections; Foreign Corrupt Practices Act; Military Whistleblower Protection Act; Section 406 of the Internal Revenue Code; section 11(c) of OSHA; trade secrets; numerous laws relating to transportation by boat, truck, rail, or public transportation; and union grievances.

Many of these whisteblowing laws provide for specific form of complaints and specific institutions to which complaints must be made, and failing to act in accordance with those rules means the whistleblower could be without protection. Since the UBS scandal of 2012 when a person was initially imprisoned for three years but then awarded over $100 million dollars for his role in exposing UBS’s management of illegal offshore Swiss bank accounts, regulators have generally held a more favorable eye toward whistleblowing activities.  However, despite these changes, an employee must be careful to blow the whistle in the right way to the right people.  Many of the whisteblowing laws provide for specific form of complaints and specific institutions to which complaints must be made, and failing to act in accordance with those rules means the whistleblower could be without protection or limited in their ability to recover rewards.  As a result, it is critical to know about the specific laws covering the specific alleged activity.  For example, some whistleblowing statutes encourage public disclosure while others such as the False Claims Act discourage it.

Glenn Nunes advises and represents employees in disputes over alleged retaliation for whistleblowing activities.  Some employees who have blown the whistle on employers have felt tremendous negative consequences of doing so including government prosecution and employer retaliation, so it is critical to act carefully and with the advise of a concerned attorney who understands the potential ramifications — positive and negative — of this whisteleblowing.  In some instances, the employee complaining to the government has been painted as the villain and even prosecuted for the actions they brought to light.  In other instances, whistleblowers have obtained millions of dollars for exposing fraud by their employers.  Congress has enacted numerous laws to protect whistleblowing activities but acting cautiously is a good idea.

Contact Glenn Nunes if you are considering blowing the whistle on an employer.  This is an extremely complicated area, and the consequences for the employee and employer can be severe.  It is necessary to have a complete picture of the consequences.

Glenn Nunes provides quality litigation services for plaintiffs  in qui tam lawsuits and works on a contingency basis in such cases. To schedule a FREE consultation, call me at 424-281-0785 or contact me online.

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    San Francisco, California 94104
    Phone: 424-281-0785
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    Suite 4000-W
    Santa Monica, California 90404
    Phone: 424-281-0785