Whistleblowers and whistleblower lawyers play a key role in bringing to justice any attempts or acts of defrauding the US government. Numerous federal and state laws make provisions to incentivise whistleblowers so that the effort they put towards helping the government is rewarded. In this blog, we look into some of the whistleblower laws in the US.
Law #1 – The False Claims Act
The Federal False Claims Act or Lincoln’s Law is the most popular law related to whistleblowers. Under this Act, anyone with information about an act of fraud against the government can institute a lawsuit on behalf of the US government. If they succeed in the litigation, they can not only claim a share of the money recovered by the government but can also recover the costs of litigation and whistleblower attorney fees from the defendant.
Law #2 – The Whistleblower Protection Act (WPA)
The WPA is a statute that protects federal employees who are whistleblowers. Federal employees are protected when they disclose information about any violations of law or rules, mismanagement, waste of funds, specific information about public safety risks, and abuse of authority. It was passed by Congress in 2012 to protect those who report such incidents.
Law #3 – The Dodd-Frank Act
The Dodd-Frank Act was a result of the 2008 financial crisis that wrought the nation. It was passed to prevent fraud in financial markets. Whistleblowers who provide “original information” about financial fraud to the authorities can claim up to 30% of the monies recovered if the monetary sanctions exceed $1 million. To date, whistleblower lawyershave helped their clients get around $100 million from monetary sanctions imposed under this Act.
Law #4 – The Sarbanes-Oxley Act
§1514A of this Act ensures the protection of whistleblowers in publicly traded companies. Whistleblowers can initiate a civil action to ensure that no retaliatory methods are adopted against them for disclosure of information regarding fraudulent acts. If the whistleblower has been removed from employment or denied payment of salaries, they can reclaim the same under this Act, in addition to special damages, including legal expenses.