California Whistleblower Lawyer
When companies or organizations break state or federal laws and commit fraud against the government or its agencies, employees have the right to act as whistleblowers to make these wrongdoings known without fear of retaliation. Whistleblower laws exist to protect employees who come forward about their company’s illegal actions, and California has particularly strong whistleblower laws and protections under the California Whistleblower Protection Act that allow whistleblowers to potentially recover significant financial compensation for their bravery.
At Tycko & Zavareei LLP, our whistleblower lawyers are experienced in building strong whistleblower cases and helping whistleblowers across the country understand their rights and protections. Our qui tam law firm is committed to bettering the nation by exposing fraudulent and unlawful business practices. If you have questions regarding a whistleblower lawsuit or have experienced retaliation for filing a whistleblower claim, contact the California whistleblower attorneys at Tycko & Zavareei LLP today for a free legal consultation with a qualified California whistleblower lawyer.
What is the California False Claims Act?
In California, there are two incentive programs to encourage whistleblowers to come forward about their employers illegal or fraudulent behavior:
- The California False Claims Act (CFCA): An amendment of the federal False Claims Act (FCA), the CFCA gives employees an incentive to come forward regarding information about organizations defrauding the California state government or a state government program. Unlike the FCA which limits rewards to 35% of recovered funds, the CFCA allows whistleblowers to receive awards of up to 50% of recovered funds. Like the FCA, the CFCA is a qui tam law, meaning it allows private citizens to bring a lawsuit in the name of the government.
- The California Insurance Fraud Protection Act (CIFPA): Also a qui tam law, CIFPA differs because it allows whistleblowers to bring a qui tam lawsuit against an individual or organization defrauding a private insurance company, while most qui tam laws only allow whistleblowers lawsuits when there is fraud against the government or a government agency. With CIFPA, the whistleblower brings the lawsuit on behalf of the California Insurance Commission, and are eligible to receive up to 50% in recovered funds as compensation.
Who Are Whistleblowers?
Whistleblowers are employees or insiders of a public or private business committing fraudulent acts against the state or federal government. They help protect taxpayer dollars by reporting illegal or fraudulent behavior. This kind of behavior can include:
- Violating state or federal laws
- Failing to comply with local regulations or public policy
- Fraudulent behavior involving customers or income
- Billing Medicare, Medicaid, TRICARE, or other government-funded healthcare program for medically unnecessary services or services not rendered
- Billing a government agency for work not performed or work that violates the tenets of a contract
Whistleblower Protection in California
In addition to federal laws that protect whistleblowers, like the False Claims Act (FCA), California provides additional protections for whistleblowers in the state. These include the California Whistleblower Protection Act, which makes it illegal for employers to retaliate for an employee reporting fraud, abuse of authority, state or federal law violations, or any threats to public health.
California’s labor code offers whistleblowers protection, too. These protections make it illegal for employers to:
- Create or enforce a policy that discourages employees from being whistleblowers.
- Retaliate against an employee who chooses not to participate in any activity or work that would violate a state or federal law.
- Retaliate against employees who become whistleblowers or who have been in the past.
Retaliation can include termination, refusal of promotion, pay raise, or benefits, discrimination, and relocating an employee as a result of whistleblowing.
What Damages are Awarded for Whistleblower Retaliation in California?
If an employer retaliates against an employee for reporting fraudulent and/or illegal behavior, the whistleblower may be entitled to the following:
- If the whistleblower was wrongly terminated, they may be eligible for reinstatement and back pay.
- If the whistleblower lost a raise or promotion due to retaliation, they may be entitled to the additional pay they would have earned through the promotion or raise.
- The whistleblower may be entitled to a civil penalty imposed upon the employer for up to $10,000 per violation, regardless of what form of retaliation occurred.
How Can A California Whistleblower Attorney Help Me?
An experienced California whistleblower lawyer will be able to guide you through the qui tam legal process and advise you of your rights under various state and federal whistleblower laws. When whistleblower cases are successful and defrauded funds are recovered, the whistleblower may be eligible for financial compensation. An experienced whistleblower law firm will be able to assist those who either wish to report their employer or who have been retaliated against for reporting:
- Falsification of loan documents and other financial documents
- Unsafe, unfair, or deceptive business practices
- IRS and tax fraud
- Government contracts fraud
- Medicare, Medicaid, TRICARE, VA, Veterans, and similar healthcare fraud
- Securities, commodities, and banking fraud
- Environmental fraud
A qualified qui tam law firm will investigate the veracity of your claims, file the necessary complaints with state and federal agencies, follow all necessary steps to maximize reward, and represent you throughout the legal process.
Contact a California Whistleblower Lawyer
At Tycko & Zavareei LLP, our qui tam law firm is a leader in the field of whistleblower lawsuits and has been nationally recognized for its efforts to expose fraudulent businesses. Our whistleblower attorneys have experience both in the U.S. Justice Department and in private practice, and their whistleblower cases have recovered over $7 billion on behalf of whistleblowers across the country. If you believe you have proof of corporate fraud being committed against the federal or state government, contact Tycko & Zavareei LLP for a confidential case evaluation.