According to federal law, a whistleblower is defined as an “employee who discloses information that he/she reasonably believes is evidence of illegality, gross waste or fraud, mismanagement, abuse of power, general wrongdoing, or a substantial and specific danger to public health and safety”. Whistleblowers play a critical role in today’s economy. As such, they are protected by federal law. Most states, including Arizona, also afford whistleblowers additional protections.
If you have non-public information about potential fraud or other wrongdoing, and are conflicted about blowing the whistle on your employer, you need experienced, private counsel to protect your rights. Seek legal assistance before you tell anyone or go public. You could also be entitled to a percentage of that recovery as a “relator” under federal or state law. Speak with a Burg Simpson Arizona corporate litigation lawyer by calling 602-777-7000 or complete our Free Case Evaluation form so we can walk you through this process.
In Arizona, like a lot of other states, there are statues in place to shield employees from retaliation for reporting illegal activities. The Arizona Employment Protection Act, which also protects workers from discrimination, is meant to defend whistleblowers against most retaliatory acts. The law states that:
- An employer cannot terminate an employee for refusing to commit a crime as part of their job.
- An employer cannot fire – or otherwise punish – an employee for filing a formal complaint against the company for an unsafe workplace.
- An employer cannot otherwise retaliate against a whistleblower for reporting the illegal use of pesticides.
- An employer cannot “punish” a worker against for revealing potential future illegal or unethical activity.
Retaliatory acts or punishments can take many forms, such as a demotion, a pay freeze or salary cut, or some other negative change in job responsibilities. If you are feeling pressured to do something illegal or unethical – or you have information you think should be made public, don’t go it alone. Call a civil litigation attorney at Burg Simpson Arizona at 602-777-7000.
If the whistleblower in question has information about his or her employer that suggests fraud against the federal or state government, the employee may be entitled to file a qui tam suit, which is meant to help the government recover the funds lost to that fraud. The whistleblower could potentially receive a percentage of the money recovered as a reward.
Common types of government fraud include:
Fraudulent charges for work never done
Charges for products never delivered
Filing false reports about products or services
If you suspect your employer is defrauding the state or federal government, call a civil law attorney before you do anything else. Call our Burg Simpson Arizona office today at 602-777-7000 so we can help.
LET BURG SIMPSON’S ARIZONA LAWYERS HELP YOU
If you have information about your employer that suggest they may be breaking the law or acting unethically, it is critical that you speak with a trained Arizona business lawyer before taking any action. Call Burg Simpson right away at 602-777-7000 or fill out our FREE Case Evaluation form here.