Savine Employment Law, Ltd. advocates for Chicago and Illinois employees who have been illegally retaliated against for reporting wrongdoing in the workplace, including discrimination, financial wrongdoing and fraud.
We counsel clients on their options and potential consequence both before and after they complain, whether to the employer or outside authorities. We understand the workplace laws that protect employees from punishment for complaining about or reporting certain illegal activity.
We are experienced in advising employees on how to “blow the whistle” on employer wrongdoing. We advise employees who consult us before they report illegal conduct on the best way to blow the whistle, and what to expect afterwards. We are experienced in representing employees whose employers retaliate against them for whistleblowing.
Whistleblower Retaliation. Various federal, state, and city laws protect employees who blow the whistle on wrongdoing. For example, the law protects employees who report incidents of discrimination, wage and hour law violations, violations of securities laws like Sarbanes-Oxley and the Dodd-Frank Act, and fraud against the government. Other laws protect whistleblowers in certain industries, including health care, defense contracts, consumer products manufacturing, air and rail transportation, and nuclear energy, to name a few.
Sometimes, an employee may have a strong retaliation claim, even if the underlying claim for discrimination or some other kind of violation is not viable.
Qui Tam or False Claims Cases. In some circumstances, whistleblowers who report wrongdoing may be eligible for rewards (called “bounties”). The federal False Claims Act (FCA), the Civil False Claims Act, and the Illinois Whistleblower Reward and Protection Act, also known as “qui tam” statutes, encourage workers who report fraud against the government by their employers, by offering bounties or rewards, and by making it illegal for an employer to punish workers for investigating potential fraud, supplying information to the government, or filing a qui tam lawsuit against their employer.
But there are limits to such rewards and protections. For example, employees who participated in the unlawful conduct cannot collect a bounty, and workers generally are only protected from retaliation if they had a reasonable basis to believe that their employer had defrauded the government.
Examples of qui tam cases might include a medical care provider over-billing Medicare or Medicaid for the services they provide to their patients, or a public contractor defrauding a federal, state or municipal government agency. The process for bringing qui tam actions is very complex and requires close cooperation with government authorities to preserve one’s rights and protections.