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Long Beach Whistleblower Lawyer

When a business or individual commits fraudulent or unethical practices, it’s the whistleblowers who often put a stop to it. These are the people who report on the wrongdoings of their employers or others to help protect the public and their colleagues. If you have witnessed such misconduct, you may be considering blowing the whistle yourself. But before you do, it’s important to understand the risks involved. Whistleblowers can face serious retaliation from their employers, including termination, demotion, and harassment. These, of course, are all illegal under California law, but that doesn’t always stop companies from trying. That’s why many consult with a Long Beach whistleblower lawyer before taking any action.

At The Law Office of Omid Nosrati, our experienced legal team can help you navigate the often complicated process of publicly disclosing information. We understand the gravity of what you’re up against, but that won’t stop us from fighting for what is right. The members of our team are experts on the Whistleblower Protection Act, California labor code, and False Claims Act. We know how to get results. Connect with us today if you’re ready to take action and make a difference.

What is a Whistleblower?

A whistleblower is someone who reports on the illegal or unethical practices of their employer or another individual. In many cases, whistleblowers are employees who witness their colleagues or superiors engaging in fraud or other misconduct. Others may be vendors, contractors, or consumers who have been the victim of fraud themselves. Whistleblowers help to expose discrimination and wrongdoings, protecting the public from harm.

What Are the Risks of Being a Whistleblower?

When you report fraud or misconduct, you’re taking a risk. You could lose your job, your financial security, and even your freedom. But knowing that these illegal responses to your disclosure can be challenged in court can ease your mind and give you the courage to step forward.

Retaliation is the most common risk faced by whistleblowers. Your employer could fire you, demote you, or otherwise make your work life difficult. You might also be blacklisted from future jobs in your field. You could face civil or criminal charges if your allegations turn out to be false, including defamation, libel, trespassing, or violating trade secrets laws.

Despite these risks, many people choose to disclose information to the public because they believe it’s the right thing to do. If you’re considering whistleblowing, it’s important to understand the risks and how to protect yourself.

What Are Common Illegal Activities That Might Be Reported?

There are many types of fraud and misconduct that whistleblowers can report. Some common examples include:

  • Billing fraud: This includes billing for services that were never provided, billing for more hours than were actually worked, and using false diagnoses to justify billing charges.
  • Medicare and Medicaid fraud: This also includes billing for services that were never provided, providing kickbacks for referrals, and upcoding (billing for more expensive services than were actually provided).
  • Securities fraud: This includes insider trading, embezzlement, and offering false or misleading information to investors.
  • Environmental violations: This includes illegal dumping of hazardous waste, failing to comply with environmental regulations, and hiding information about environmental hazards.
  • Consumer fraud: This includes false advertising, bait-and-switch tactics, and selling defective products.
  • Workplace safety violations: This includes failing to provide a safe work environment, knowingly exposing workers to hazardous materials, and retaliating against workers who report safety concerns.

How Can You Protect Yourself as a Whistleblower?

There are several things you can do to protect yourself as a whistleblower:

  • Research your claim: Gather as much evidence as possible to support your allegations. This may include documents, emails, and eyewitness accounts.
  • Know the laws: Familiarize yourself with the laws that apply to your situation, including whistleblower protection laws. This will help you understand your rights and the risks you’re facing.
  • Get legal help: Speak with a lawyer before you take any action. A lawyer can advise you of your rights and help you navigate the legal process.
  • Choose your outlet: You may choose to report your allegations to your employer, a government agency, or the media. Each option has its own risks and benefits that you should discuss with a lawyer.
  • Remain anonymous: You may choose to remain anonymous when you make your allegations. This can help protect you from retaliation, but it may also make it harder to investigate your claims.

What Evidence Is Needed to Prove Any Illegal Activity?

To prove fraud or misconduct, you will need to provide evidence of the wrongdoing that can be tied to a specific individual or entity. Common forms of evidence that support whistleblower claims include:

  • Documents: Emails, invoices, contracts, and financial statements can all be used to support allegations of fraud or misconduct. Specific information such as dates, times, and dollar amounts can be helpful in establishing a pattern of wrongdoing. Sometimes a document can be so compelling that it leads to an investigation even without other evidence required to corroborate it.
  • Eyewitness accounts: Eyewitnesses can provide first-hand accounts of illegal activity. Their testimonies can be used to corroborate other evidence or to establish a pattern of behavior. Because eyewitnesses can be intimidated or coerced into changing their story, it’s important to document their statements as soon as possible and ensure they have had no contact with the person or entity accused of wrongdoing.
  • Audio or video recordings: Audio or video recordings can be used to support allegations of fraud or misconduct. If the operation in which the wrongdoing occurred was recorded in the work building, this could be valuable evidence in an investigation as you take the jury back in time to see the conditions that you were working under. The key is having an unbiased source make the recording, so it’s important not to make the recording yourself. However, if you have already made a recording, it’s still worth showing it to an attorney to see if it can be used as evidence.

Tips for Submitting a Whistleblower Claim

If you have evidence of fraud or misconduct, there are a few things you can do to increase the chances that your claim will be taken seriously and investigated:

  • Submit your claim to the right agency: Not all agencies accept anonymous tips, so you may need to provide your contact information. Be sure to submit your claim to the agency that has jurisdiction or authority over the issue you’re reporting.
  • Provide as much evidence as possible: The more evidence you have to support your claim, the more likely it is to be investigated. Include documents, emails, eyewitness accounts, and audio or video recordings if you have them.
  • Be specific: Include as much detail as possible in your claim. This will help the agency determine if there is enough evidence to warrant an investigation.
  • Remain anonymous: You may choose to remain anonymous when you submit your claim. This can help protect you from retaliation, but it may also make it harder to investigate your claims.
  • Remain calm: It can be difficult to keep your emotions in check when you’re making a claim about fraud or misconduct, but it’s important to remain calm and professional. This will help the agency take your claim seriously and investigate it thoroughly.
  • Chat with Long Beach whistleblower attorneys: An attorney can help you prepare your claim and submit it to the appropriate agency. They can also help you understand the risks and benefits of remaining anonymous and can represent you if you choose to come forward. Keep an open line of communication with your attorney to ensure that your claim is properly handled.

What Happens After I Submit a Whistleblower Claim?

Once you’ve submitted a claim, the agency will review it to determine if there is enough evidence to warrant an investigation. If they decide to investigate, they will assign an investigator to look into the matter. The investigation can take months or even years to complete, and it may not lead to any disciplinary action.

If the investigation finds evidence of fraud or misconduct, the agency may take disciplinary action against the person or entity accused of wrongdoing. This could include fines, suspension, or termination. The agency may also choose to take no action if they determine that the evidence is not sufficient to prove wrongdoing.

If you come forward with your allegations, you may be protected from retaliation by your employer. However, you could still face retaliation from the person or entity you accused of wrongdoing. It’s important to speak with an attorney before you come forward to ensure that you are protected from retaliation.

What Punishments Can an Employer Face After a Whistleblower Claim?

If an employer is found guilty of illegal activity, they may face a number of penalties. These can include:

  • Fines: The employer may be required to pay a fine to the government. This is often the punishment for less serious offenses or first-time offenders. Their intent is to punish the employer with an inconvenient financial hit and to serve as a deterrent for future misconduct.
  • Suspension: The employer may be suspended from doing business with the government. This is a more serious penalty that can cause the employer to lose a significant amount of business. It also can take a toll on their reputation with the community, potentially impacting their ability to attract new customers or employees.
  • Termination: The employer may be terminated from their government contract. This is a serious penalty and can put the employer out of business. This is usually reserved for cases of gross negligence or misconduct.
  • Debarment: The employer may be barred from doing business with the government in the future. This is the most serious penalty and can effectively put the employer out of business and prevent them from ever doing business with the government again.

FAQs

Q: How do you prove a whistleblower case?

A: Illegal activity in the workplace can be masterfully concealed. You might not have access to the financial documents or other records that would help prove your case. However, there might be other ways to prove your case. For example, having direct confirmation that someone was told to commit fraud would be incredibly powerful evidence. You could then connect with an attorney who will help you legally advance your whistleblower case to collect other forms of evidence.

Q: Can a whistleblower sue?

A: If you suffer retaliation because you reported illegal activity, you may be able to sue your employer. You would need to prove that your employer took adverse action against you because of your whistleblowing. This can be difficult to do, so it’s important to speak with an attorney who has already litigated these types of cases.

Q: What type of lawyer handles whistleblower cases?

A: Employment lawyers typically litigate whistleblower cases. These lawyers have experience with all of the laws that govern employment, including the anti-retaliation provisions. They also have experience representing employees who have been retaliated against. They serve as the go-to experts on any disputes or legal concerns under the employment relationship.

Q: How much do whistleblower lawyers charge?

A: It is not possible to give a general answer to this question because every case is different. Some lawyers operate on an hourly rate, while others may charge a contingency fee. This means that they would only get paid if you win your case. Speak with a lawyer to get a better understanding of their fee structure and what it would mean for you specifically.

Contact The Law Office of Omid Nosrati Today

If you have witnessed illegal activity in the workplace, it’s time to fix the problem. Don’t let fear of retaliation keep you from coming forward. The first step is to contact an experienced whistleblower lawyer to discuss your case and learn about your legal options.

The Law Office of Omid Nosrati is a leading law firm representing whistleblowers in Long Beach and throughout California. We have a proven track record of success in these cases. Contact us today to schedule a consultation. We will review your case and advise you on the best course of action to achieve justice and compensation.

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