The process of filing a case and coming forward with the right evidence can be complicated; ensure that you understand the role you play as a whistleblower and how government intervention could influence the outcome of the case and your own future. You should never go through the process of stepping forward without legal guidance.
Understanding Important Laws Impacting Whistleblowers in Michigan
You need the advice of someone who is familiar with the different facets of Michigan lawsuits and who can help guide you through the process of bringing forward your claim and reporting your primary concerns. Whistleblowers are protected under common law public policy torts, but there may be additional exclusive coverage under the Michigan Whistleblower Protection Act.
Additionally, Michigan has a False Claims Act as it relates to fraud and government contracting and procurement. False Claims Act claims are typically considered among some of the strongest whistleblower claims available. If you have evidence that you believe could form the basis of an allegation under the Michigan False Claims Act, it is imperative to have legal counsel advise you to determine whether or not your case falls under that specific umbrella.
It’s important for any person who ends up filing a separate retaliation case to recognize what qualifies as protected activities; this forms the basis of any lawsuit against an employer who takes adverse action. However, you could also be a whistleblower who has information about current or previous fraud outside of the context of an employee role.
What Activities Are Protected Under State Law?
There are both statutory and common law protections available as it relates to a Michigan whistleblower lawsuit. General whistleblower protection is known as statutory protection. This means that an employee cannot be discharged or discriminated against in retaliation for reporting suspected local stay or federal law violations or for participating in enquiry hearing investigation or court action.
The specific report has to be made to a public body and can be done in either writing or verbally. An employee who discloses this wrongdoing to a supervisor, however, is not protected, and the employee is also not protected if they make the report knowing that it is false. The common law protections mean that an employee cannot be discharged on the reason that is contrary to Michigan’s existing public policies, meaning that if that person is an employee who refuses to violate a law in the course of their employment or is discharged for their failure to violate a law, this is illegal. Furthermore, an employee cannot be discharged for exercising any rights conferred by the statute, such as filing a legitimate worker’s compensation claim.
Understanding the Definition of Whistleblower
Whistleblower refers to an employee who reports unethical or illegal acts carried out by his or her employer to the appropriate authorities. Employers can face monetary sanctions or mediation costs, or monetary penalties, meaning that employees who report legitimate concerns could find themselves victims of employer retaliation. This retaliation can take form demotion, firing, suspension, denial of benefits or pay and even intimidation.
Whistleblower laws including Michigan whistleblower laws are there to protect private and public employees from being retaliated against for reporting these violations. The primary purpose for these protections existing as to encourage those employees who have inside information about fraud and abuse to come forward and report these to save taxpayer money.
In the event that an employee is involved in reporting these concerns under the law and is then discriminated against filing a Michigan whistleblower lawsuit might be the next step. An aggrieved person can file civil action in the form of a Michigan whistleblower lawsuit within 90 days if a violation for injunction or actual damages in addition to attorney’s fees. The court at its discretion can award back pay reinstatements, seniority rights and court costs. Additionally the company in the organization involved could face a civil fine of up to $500.
Understanding the Michigan Whistleblower Protections Act
A plaintiff in a Michigan whistleblower case is required to prove a number of different things in bringing a Michigan whistleblower lawsuit. Under the WPA, this person, for example, has to prove that they were engaged in an activity that is protected under the act, that they sustained an adverse employment action as a result of being involved in that activity, and that there is a connection between the protected activity and the adverse employment action taken by the employer.
In some court cases, this has also included the plaintiff having to prove that they engaged in the protected activity primarily for altruistic purposes rather than taking on a personal vendetta. It’s important to recognize that the WPA for bringing a Michigan whistleblower lawsuit has a limited statute of limitations. Consulting with an experienced Michigan whistleblower lawsuit lawyer can help you to identify the next steps you need to take and how to do so early and effectively to maximize your chances of reporting these concerns and recovering potential compensation if you have already been retaliated against in the form of your position.
While there are also federal laws protecting whistleblowers and outlining what those cases look like, state cases inside Michigan should always be handled by a dedicated lawyer who has a track record of assisting those whistleblowers who need to complicate the statutes within Michigan.