The Whistleblower Protection Act is a federal law designed to protect government workers who report unlawful practices, abuses of authority, and dangers to public safety. Senator Carl Levin (D—MI) introduced the bill in January 1989. The Senate passed it unanimously that March, and President George H.W. Bush signed the bill into law on April 10, 1989.
When a government agency retaliates (or threatens to retaliate) against an employee for reporting unlawful or unethical behavior, it violates the Whistleblower Protection Act. This law and the False Claims Act serve as the foundation for many whistleblower (or qui tam) lawsuits filed by federal workers.
What Types of Behaviors Can Whistleblowers Report?
The Whistleblower Protection Act shields government employees from retaliation for reporting the following actions:
- Violations of the law (e.g., fraud)
- Significant danger to public health/safety
- Abuse of authority
- Gross waste of funds
- Gross mismanagement
- Censorship related to research, analysis, or technical information
Though it’s natural for a worker to fear the consequences of blowing the whistle on these behaviors, federal law protects them in these instances.
Are Workers Compensated for Reporting Fraud?
As per the False Claims Act, when an employee successfully proves that an agency or company is defrauding the government, they are entitled to 10-30% of the money collected by the government. This can amount to millions of dollars.
Since 2010, the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) has issued $120 million in awards to whistleblowers.
How Do I Blow the Whistle?
The first thing you should do is contact a whistleblower lawyer who can guide you through this process. An attorney will know what kind of evidence to gather, how best to collect it, and how to build the strongest case possible.
We realize this is a scary time for you, but blowing the whistle on unethical behavior is the right thing to do, and you could be rewarded for your bravery and patriotism. Across all of our practice areas, Morgan & Morgan has recovered more than $15 billion for clients.
To find out if you qualify for a whistleblower lawsuit, and to learn more about what these cases entail, fill out a case review form for a free, confidential consultation. It costs nothing up front to hire us, and we get paid only if you win.