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North Carolina Whistleblower Laws

In recent years, whistleblower testimony has been crucial in exposing various corrupt and illegal activities taking place in different industries, agencies, and private companies. Whistleblowers should always be taken seriously, as they risk their careers in pursuit of justice.

Have you recently witnessed fraud in North Carolina? Are you considering coming forward with your information?

As you likely know, you must consider your next steps very carefully. The last thing you want to do is report fraud to the wrong person and suffer retaliatory actions at work. Learn more about whistleblower laws in North Carolina, how to use them to your advantage, and how the qui tam attorneys of Tycko & Zavareei LLP can help below.

The North Carolina False Claims Act

The North Carolina False Claims Act allows any individual who witnesses an entity or another person knowingly commit fraud against the state government to report the wrongdoing on behalf of the North Carolina state government. Similar to the federal False Claims Act, this state law also rewards and protects whistleblowers for their efforts.

A whistleblower’s journey is not always straightforward, though. If you go about reporting fraud incorrectly, you could forfeit the rewards and protections available under the North Carolina False Claims Act. This law outlines what types of claims whistleblowers can pursue and the protections and rewards afforded to them for doing so.

NC Whistleblower Retaliation Protections

If you are considering blowing the whistle on fraud in North Carolina, you have no doubt also considered the possible ramifications you might face if you speak out or file a report. Specifically, many whistleblowers hesitate coming forward due to fear of retaliation by an employer. For this reason, the NC False Claims Act directly addresses employer retaliation in Section 1-613.

Retaliation happens when an employer unfairly penalizes an employee for making a protected disclosure about illicit activity. According to the North Carolina False Claims Act, the following actions may constitute employer retaliation when taken in response to an employee’s whistleblower status:

  • Firing or discharging
  • Unwarranted negative employment reviews
  • Harassment
  • Demoting or taking away work privileges
  • Removing benefits the employee has earned
  • Denying vacation time or other earned perks
  • Denying promotions for which an employee is qualified

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As you can imagine, undergoing retaliatory actions from your employer can be extremely damaging to your professional and personal life. If you are facing unfair retaliation after taking the proper steps to blow the whistle on fraud in North Carolina, consult with a qui tam lawyer about your right to pursue additional remedies available under the NC False Claims Act, including reinstatement in a previously held position, double back pay plus interest, and reasonable attorneys’ fees. These protections apply to employees in public and private sectors.

Whistleblower Rewards in North Carolina

Under Section 1-607 of North Carolina’s False Claims Act, individuals found to be defrauding the state government will be liable for up to three times the government’s damages, plus additional civil fines. The law also provides a financial incentive to whistleblowers whose information leads to a successful claim.

Specifically, whistleblowers in North Carolina can receive up to 30 percent of the settlement award when they file a lawsuit and are the first to report information that results in the recovery of government funds. If the state government intervenes in the claim, the whistleblower can still receive up to 25 percent of the settlement award.

That percentage can add up when the defrauded funds total in the thousands, millions, or billions of dollars. Check out our firm’s whistleblower success stories to learn more about how much of a settlement award a whistleblower might receive.

Federal Whistleblower Laws that Apply in North Carolina

North Carolina’s state-specific whistleblower laws protect individuals reporting wrongdoing on behalf of the state government, but what if you notice a North Carolina company committing fraud against the federal government? There are federal whistleblower laws that may apply in your situation.

The Federal False Claims Act

This important federal law protects whistleblowers who want to report false claims or attempts to submit false claims to the federal government in order to make a profit. This law covers many different types of fraud.

Section 21F of the Exchange Act

Another common type of fraud committed against the US government is violations of SEC laws. If you believe you have witnessed a violation of federal securities laws taking place in North Carolina, Section 21F of the Exchange Act can help you feel empowered to report the violation.

Under this law, you do not have to be an employee of the company to report fraud. This section allows whistleblowers to receive an award if the report leads to a successful SEC enforcement action of sanctions over $1 million.

There has been a massive uptick in successful SEC whistleblower cases in recent years. In 2022, the SEC awarded over $229 million in 103 different claims.

Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002

The Sarbanes-Oxley Act protects employees who report other employees for violating certain federal laws involving fraud, securities, and shareholder fraud from retaliatory actions. These employees are protected so long as they follow the proper procedures and make the report in good faith. These employees will be protected under this Act even if there is no conviction or the allegations are false.

How to Report Fraud in North Carolina

Connect with a qui tam firm like Tycko & Zavareei LLP to blow the whistle on fraud in North Carolina. In most cases, you must work with an attorney to report fraud, and the government may decline to take on your case if you attempt to file a whistleblower claim without legal representation. Our firm can help you report the wrongdoing through the proper channels and within the applicable deadlines.

Are You Ready to Report Fraud in North Carolina?

Have you witnessed your organization or company violating state or federal law? Are you interested in seeking out justice by reporting the wrongdoing? Before you act, consider consulting with an experienced whistleblower lawyer.

A good lawyer will listen to the facts surrounding your allegations. From there, they will help you better understand whether state or federal whistleblower laws might apply. If so, then your lawyer will help you determine what actionable steps you should take to report the wrongdoing, protect yourself from retaliation, and maximize your chances of receiving a financial reward.

If you are ready to consult with a lawyer, the attorneys of Tycko & Zavareei LLP can help. Schedule a confidential case evaluation now to get started.

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