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How Do I Prove Whistleblower Retaliation?

On Behalf of | Jul 28, 2016 | Firm News

As a matter of public policy, state and federal governments encourage individuals with intimate knowledge of fraud, waste, and abuse of governmental programs to step forward and report the wrongdoing. Under federal laws like the False Claims Act, these whistleblowers may be entitled to a portion of money recovered if the case is successfully prosecuted.

Despite being able to file many different whistleblower claims under seal and robust state and federal protections for employees who step forward with information of fraud, individuals may sometimes face retaliation from their employers. In these situations, the employee has the legal remedy to recover compensation for the damages suffered.

Whistleblower retaliation lawsuits

Under the federal and state laws, employers are barred from engaging in termination, discrimination, harassment, demotion, suspension, or threats against employees reporting fraud, waste, or abuse of federal or state programs. To successfully prove an employee was retaliated against, the whistleblower needs to prove:

  • They engaged in a protected act under the False Claims Act or other whistleblower programs
  • The employer had knowledge of the employee’s participation in a protected act
  • The discrimination was motivated by the employer’s knowledge of the employee’s protected actions

To satisfy the first element, the employee must demonstrate that they filed a whistleblower claim or that they were working towards this endeavor. This can include gathering information to turn over to whistleblower attorneys or investigators.

Proving the second and third elements can be a little more complicated. The employer must have knowledge the employee was working on or towards the filing of a whistleblower action, and that this motivated the discrimination.

An experienced whistleblower retaliation attorney can help plaintiffs demonstrate to courts the employer knew the employee’s participation in the protected action led or could lead to uncovering violations of anti-fraud statutes. The plaintiff must then demonstrate to the court a causal relationship between the employer’s knowledge of the employee’s motivations and the subsequent harm suffered by the whistleblower.

Chicago employment discrimination lawyers

If you believe you were discriminated against at your place of business because of your work in uncovering fraud, waste, or abuse of state or federal programs, contact or call 312-332-6733 our office for a consultation. Our Chicago employment discrimination lawyers can help you with job reinstatement, recouping compensation for lost wages, and recovering special damages for the harm you suffered. With over 25 years of employment law experience, Goldman & Ehrlich serves clients throughout Chicago, Illinois, and Southwestern Michigan.