California Whistleblower Attorneys
Many people see wrongdoing in the workplace, and do the right thing by speaking up. In some cases, they may be punished or even fired in retaliation for doing so. But if that happens to you, you can fight back and win compensation with the help of a California whistleblower lawyer.
Bisnar Chase handles both whistleblower qui tam and whistleblower retaliation cases. There are strict laws in place when it comes to these employment claims. In some cases, the law allows you to sue an employer for committing fraudulent, unsafe, or unlawful practices. Other laws are designed to protect workers from retaliation when they expose employer wrongdoing.
Do not be afraid to do the right thing, or let yourself be bullied by your employer. Fight back with the help of Bisnar Chase. Our California whistleblower attorneys are here to help you find justice.
What is a Whistleblower Case?
First things first: what does it mean to be a whistleblower, and what counts as a whistleblower case?
In the terms of an employment lawsuit, a whistleblower is someone who reports workplace conditions or practices that they believe are illegal or unsafe.
For example, one case in 2021 saw a health services facility run up unnecessary procedures, billing patients a larger than necessary amount of money. This sketchy practice was reported by an employee. That employee will therefore be known as a whistleblower.
The report could be made to a variety of parties, including relevant government agencies or law enforcement agents.
There are two types of whistleblower legal cases handled by Bisnar Chase. These are qui tam and retaliation. One deals with holding the company accountable for its original wrongdoing, while the other protects the whistleblower from repercussions.
We discuss both case types in more detail below. If you believe you have a whistleblower claim, contact Bisnar Chase now for a free consultation and expert guidance.
Whistleblower (Qui Tam) Lawsuits
There are two main types of whistleblower lawsuit that can be filed. The first that we will discuss is a whistleblower qui tam lawsuit.
A qui tam lawsuit is filed in accordance with the California False Claims Act, and is the mechanism of recovering compensation from a business that has committed wrongful actions, specifically in cases involving the misuse or misappropriation of government money.
The term “qui tam” is a shortened version of a Latin phrase. Roughly translated, it means: “he who sues for the king as well as for himself.” In these cases, “the king” means the federal government.
Qui tam lawsuits are civil actions that must be brought by someone with firsthand private knowledge of the situation. They are filed by the whistleblower on behalf of the government – hence the name qui tam. It means that you are suing to recover losses for the government, as well as yourself.
A wide range of scenarios can be covered in qui tam lawsuits. For example:
- A business overcharging for products or services provided under a government contract (such as a construction company overcharging for a city building project)
- Overbilling or fraudulent billing for federal health services (Medicare/Medicaid)
- A school fraudulently claiming too much federal money
- Knowingly providing sub-standard or defective products to the government
Essentially, if a business defrauds the government in some way, by overcharging, making fraudulent gains, misrepresenting services, or misappropriating funds, a qui tam lawsuit could be filed against that company.
This lawsuit is filed by the whistleblower – usually an employee or former employee of the company in question – with evidence of the wrongdoing.
When this happens, the whistleblower will file the lawsuit, usually with the help of an experienced whistleblower claim attorney. This makes them the plaintiff, also sometimes known as the relator in whistleblower cases.
Once the case is in motion, the state or local district attorney could choose to take over the whistleblower’s role as the plaintiff, or they could let you continue. It depends entirely on the merits of the case.
No matter how it progresses, the whistleblower will receive a share of the compensatory award if the lawsuit is successful. This can range from 15%-30% of the total awarded.
The law allows an award of damages up to three times the value of the losses caused by fraud in whistleblower qui tam cases. From 1987-2014, nearly $30 billion was recovered by the government through qui tam lawsuits alone.
Whistleblower Retaliation Lawsuit
The second type of lawsuit involving whistleblowers is a retaliation claim. When an employee discloses information on the shady or illegal practices of their employer, they often face a backlash.
There are all kinds of ways that an employer can punish you for being a whistleblower. These include:
- Terminating your employment
- Harassing you, or putting you in hostile situations in the workplace
- Denying an earned promotion or advancement opportunity
- Demoting you to a lower position
- Cutting your salary
- Suspending you, with or without pay
- Withholding benefits, overtime, bonuses etc.
This is just a snapshot of the retaliatory actions an employer can take. They have the power to make your working life very uncomfortable.
A multitude of laws are in place in California to prevent this from happening, some of which are listed in the following section. They are designed to protect employees from this kind of punishment. But retaliation still happens.
However, these laws mean that if you are fired, harassed, or otherwise punished for reporting information on business misdeeds, you can take legal action.
Hire a skilled California whistleblower retaliation attorney to make sure justice is done in your case.
You can sue an employer or former employer if they have subjected to unfair punishments. By doing so, you could get your job back (if you want it), you could receive back pay with interest, additional financial compensation, damages for emotional distress and damage to your reputation, payment to cover legal fees, and more.
Contact Bisnar Chase now for expert help in handling a whistleblower retaliation claim.
There are several whistleblower laws designed specifically to protect employees in California who speak up and expose wrongdoing.
Labor Code 1102.5 LC:
This law provides general protection for whistleblowers. Its scope includes the following points:
- Employers and representatives of companies (such as managers) are not allowed to enforce rules or policies that prevent workers from disclosing information to government agencies and law enforcement agencies. Employees are also allowed to disclose information to direct managers and other employees that may be able to investigate a claim of wrongdoing, such as HR or internal affairs.
- An employer is not allowed to retaliate against a worker for disclosing information to any of the parties listed above.
- Employers cannot retaliate against workers for refusing to take part in illegal practices.
Summary: This law hits the main points in a whistleblower lawsuit brought by general employees. It prevents employers from putting restrictions in place against whistleblowing. It also prevents them from retaliating when staff members do disclose information.
This law allows employees to report information without fear, even if it turns out that the company was not doing anything unlawful. It also protects employees from retribution, even if they decided against making an official report.
Government Code 8547 GC et seq – The California Whistleblower Protection Act:
This law applies specifically to state employees in California, rather than private sector workers. It is designed to protect state employees who speak out about:
- Governmental corruption or fraud
- Violations of public law and court orders
- Conditions that threaten the health and safety of the public (or other government employees)
- Economic waste including the misuse of public funds
- Gross misconduct
Summary: State employees can be privy to sensitive information regarding public figures and taxpayers’ money. This law protects them when they speak out within the public interest.
Labor Code 6310 LC:
This law was designed to protect employees who report health and safety violations to government agencies, such as the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).
Labor Code 98.6 LC:
This law provides protection to whistleblowers who report wage and hour violations – such as a failure to pay due overtimes wages or provide legally mandated breaks – to the California Labor Commissioner.
The California False Claims Act:
One aspect of this law allows civil lawsuits to be filed against employers that are exposed for committing wrongful acts. This is referred to as a “Qui Tam” lawsuit, and has already been covered in detail on this page.
➤ Sarbanes-Oxley Act: This law provides protection for whistleblowers in cases involving investments and financial matters. Eligible cases might include securities fraud, bank fraud, wire fraud, shareholder fraud, or the violation of any regulations involving the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).
The Fair Employment and Housing Act provides statutes protecting whistleblowers who speak out over workplace discrimination and harassment.
As you can see, there is a wide range of regulations set out in California law to both hold employers accountable for their actions, and to protect whistleblowers from retaliation when they do the right thing by exposing wrongdoing.
Your whistleblower employment lawyer will know these laws inside out, allowing them to maximize the value of your case.
How Will a Whistleblower Attorney Help You?
When you become involved in a whistleblower case, it is important to hold your employer accountable.
If the business that you work for is involved in unlawful actions that you felt needed to be reported, you should file a whistleblower qui tam lawsuit if that is an option.
Whether or not you are able to financially punish the company for their original wrongdoing, you MUST hold them accountable if they retaliate against you.
At Bisnar Chase, we strongly believe in fighting for those people who are brave enough to speak out when they see something wrong, especially when they are then unlawfully penalized as a result.
Our law firm has an outstanding track record, and we have attorneys on staff who deal specifically with employment cases to make sure you get the expert help that you need.
John McCarty, Whistleblower employment lawyer:
“A whistleblower’s courage can be rewarded by holding employers accountable, by stopping their illegal, unfair, fraudulent, unsafe, and/or unhealthy practices, and by obtaining compensatory damages and punitive damages. Call us to take the first step.”
When you contact Bisnar Chase, we will help you through every step of the legal process, taking the burden off you and making the ordeal as smooth as possible. The first step will be a free consultation with our intake specialists. They will talk through the specifics of your case, and assess whether we are able to help you.
Once a client signs with our firm, we will conduct a thorough investigation to compile as much evidence as possible to support your claim, before filing the necessary complaint.
Our job is to maximize the value of your case. That means building the strongest argument possible, supported by evidence, and either securing a fair out-of-court settlement, or going to trial.
Your lawyer will be your representative, using their considerable skill and experience to make your case and secure the maximum possible compensation for you, while shielding you from employer hostility.
Trust Bisnar Chase to fight for you and secure the best possible results.
What to Look for in a Whistleblower Case Lawyer
When picking an attorney to hire, it is important that you choose a lawyer who provides the right fit for your case.
Look out for the following attributes when you are making your choice on the right whistleblower attorney for you:
- Experience: Make sure you chosen attorney has experience in successfully handling whistleblower cases like yours. Bisnar Chase employment attorney John McCarty has years of experience when it comes to winning whistleblower qui tam and retaliation cases.
- Resources: Many whistleblower cases involve taking on a large company, corporation, or entity. When doing so, it is important that you are represented by a law firm with the resources to take your case all the way. Bisnar Chase has the resources you need, as well as experience in taking on the biggest companies and winning.
- Trial lawyers: Some cases can be resolved out of court by agreeing on settlement terms. But others will be fiercely contested by the defense. The Bisnar Chase team is filled with skilled trial lawyers who have won major victories and jury verdicts in the courtroom.
- No win, no fee: Superior representation is important, but you also need legal help that is affordable. Bisnar Chase offers a no win, no fee promise that protects clients from having to pay out-of-pocket expenses.
Whistleblowers can be particularly vulnerable because they are left at the mercy of their employers. Above all, it is vital that you trust a legal team that is passionate and dedicated. We strongly believe that Bisnar Chase is the right firm for you.
There have been some massive whistleblower lawsuits resulting in major verdicts and settlements. Below are just a couple of examples of major whistleblower cases:
➤ GlaxoSmithKline Pays $3 billion Settlement Over Healthcare Fraud
Healthcare company GlaxoSmithKline was forced to pay a giant settlement in a medication fraud case. The company was found to be pushing popular medications for unapproved uses without disclosing the efficacy and safety risks.
The wrongdoing was exposed by four whistleblowers – two of whom were former employees at GlaxoSmithKline – who provided information on the corrupt schemes.
The resulting lawsuit counted as a whistleblower qui tam case because it directly affected the government. The scheme resulted in significant losses for federal healthcare programs including Medicare, Medicaid, and Tricare.
The whistleblowers shared an estimated $250 million from the total settlement.
➤ Bank of America Sued Over Mortgage Fraud
Bank of America was exposed for a fraudulent scheme in which it sold high-risk mortgage loans worth billions of dollars. The bank misrepresented the loans as safe, and sold them to government-insured mortgage firms.
These toxic sales eventually resulted in massive losses for unsuspecting victims. But the appalling practice was exposed by four whistleblowers, who filed a lawsuit under the False Claims Act.
Bank of America was forced to pay out a record-breaking $16.6 billion settlement. The four whistleblowers reportedly shared about $170 million for their role in securing justice.
These are extreme examples of qui tam whistleblower cases. Many are much smaller in scope, involving less in the way of dizzying financial amounts. But they are no less impactful on those people involved in them. Bisnar Chase takes on whistleblower qui tam and retaliation cases big and small, against companies of all sizes and statures.
John McCarty is a key part of the Bisnar Chase employment law team. He has been handling whistleblower cases for more than 20 years with an impressive success rate. John has won millions of dollars for his clients in whistleblower qui tam and retaliation lawsuits, and you can trust him with your claim.
A selection of the most frequently asked questions about whistleblower cases are answered below. If you have a question that has not been answered on this page, please do not hesitate to contact Bisnar Chase today.
If you have firsthand knowledge of employer wrongdoing, or you have been retaliated against for providing company information to a regulatory or law enforcement agency, you could have a whistleblower case. The easiest way to find out is to contact Bisnar Chase. We offer a free consultation and will be able to give you comprehensive guidance based on our experience and the merits of your case.
If you have information that you believe needs to be exposed, your first step is to contact a regulatory of law enforcement agency. Depending on the nature of the wrongdoing, this could mean anything from contacting OSHA to the FBI. Next, you should seek legal advice if you have a qui tam case, or are retaliated against. If you wish to consult with a lawyer before disclosing any information, Bisnar Chase is here for you at all times to provide guidance and support.
This is not an easy question to answer, because it varies depending on the circumstances of your specific case. Different laws have different requirements when it comes to whistleblowers. For example, under the False Claims Act you can make a confidential complaint against your employer. But this will often later be made public as the case moves forward. For advice relating to your specific case, contact Bisnar Chase now.
The statute of limitations in a whistleblower claim depends on the specifics of the case. Depending on the nature of the complaint, and where it is to be filed, you may have six months to report a labor violation, or you may have up to three years. It is a complex area of the law, and the best action that you can take is to contact Bisnar Chase for a free consultation as soon as possible.
Bisnar Chase works on contingency to save you from out-of-pocket costs and fees. We have a no win, no fee policy that allows us to advance the expenses necessary to win your case. We only get paid if we win for you, and if not, you do not owe us anything. It is important to us that we provide this guarantee to protect our clients and make our services accessible to everyone.
Choosing a Whistleblower Lawsuit Attorney Near Me
Bisnar Chase is a top-rated law firm that has been operating in California for more than 40 years. We take pride in delivering the best results for its clients, offering superior representation with a personal touch.
Our team is caring, passionate, and committed to winning for you. We have a 99% success rate and have won more than $650 million for our clients. That number includes multi-million dollar employment lawsuit results, including whistleblower cases.
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