Employees can take legal action if they believe that they have grounds to suspect fraud or illegal behavior on the part of a company. While most Florida whistleblower lawsuits are brought by current employees, former employees and others who have knowledge of the company such as contractors or vendors, could bring a Florida whistleblower lawsuit.
Whistleblowers are those individuals who come forward to report this concern by alerting government authorities about the instances of fraud. Reporting fraud is a protected activity and those pursuing a Florida whistleblower lawsuit are entitled to protection from retaliatory action.
Florida’s whistleblower law is known as the Florida False Claims Act. If a whistleblower has reason to suspect violation of state law, a qui tam or whistleblower lawsuit can be started by that party. There are instances of liability that can be applied to corporations and people who misappropriate Florida property, present false claims for payment to the state or conceal an obligation to pay the State. A defendant could be ordered to pay as high as three times the amount of actual harm done to the state, in addition to individual violation fines of between $5,500 and $11,000.
Florida Whistleblower Lawsuit Awards
There are two primary components to encourage whistleblowers to come forward with information about suspected fraud and illegal activity. The first of these is known as a whistleblower reward. Rewards are given to those whistleblowers who report fraud that the government was not previously aware of.
A whistleblower filing a False Claims Act case could be eligible to receive between 15% and 25% of the total recovery in any matter in which the Florida attorney general joins the case. If the whistleblower proceeds on his or her own because the Florida attorney general has turned down the case, the Florida whistleblower lawsuit initiator is entitled to between 25% and 30% of the recovery. There are very rare instances in which the whistleblower’s reward might be reduced.
A second component of many whistleblower laws is the protection from retaliation by an employer. Whistleblowers are those who are taking a risk in reporting their concerns to a government agency or the authorities regarding suspected fraud. This means that employers cannot take retaliatory action against those employees for being involved in such protected activity.
Participating in a Florida whistleblower lawsuit can be complicated and confusing for someone new to the process. Retaining an experienced Florida whistleblower lawyer to discuss the two different components of rewards and retaliatory action damages is important. The federal False Claims Act and the Florida False Claims Act are some of the most important tools that tax payers have to directly address corporate abuse and government waste.
Examples of Government Fraud
Defrauding the government can include overbilling of Medicaid or Medicare, government contract overcharging or other types of health care fraud. There are many ways that an employer could be accused of defrauding the government. If you believe that your employer is defrauding the government, the support of an experienced Florida whistleblower lawsuit attorney could be instrumental in helping you to bring a case and to understand your rights.
The only way to be clear about whether you have a claim is to sit down with an attorney and to discuss your individual case.
A whistleblower is any party who officially blows the whistle on an employer for taking part in corrupt, illegal, harmful or fraudulent activities at the place of employment.
An employer is prohibited from taking retaliatory action against an employee for any of the following reasons:
- The employee refused to participate in the allegedly illegal activity, policy or practice.
- The employee provided details or testified to a government agency, entity or individual carrying out an investigation due to a rule that was violated by his or her employer.
- The employee threatened to disclose or did disclose to an appropriate governmental agency a violation of a rule, regulation or law.
If you initiate a claim for retaliatory action with the Florida Whistleblower Act, you could be entitled to a broad range of damages and remedies including:
- Reinstatement to your previous position.
- Liquidated damages.
- Reinstatement of seniority rights and benefits.
- Compensation for lost benefits or wages.
- Compensation for attorney fees.
Many Florida whistleblower lawsuit cases are extremely complicated, making it even more important to retain the services of an experienced and dedicated Florida whistleblower lawsuit attorney. An attorney who is familiar with aspects of filing these cases can give you peace of mind and assist you in understanding your role and responsibility in bringing a case.
A whistleblower has unique concerns and duties when it comes to bringing a case and protecting his or her individual rights. It’s up to you to recognize the benefits of support when hiring a Florida whistleblower lawsuits lawyer to guide you through the process. You should never feel as though you’re alone in managing your whistleblower case, especially if you have been the victim of retaliation in the workplace.