An employee who brings wrongdoing by their employer to light may face serious negative consequences such as termination, demotion, loss of compensation or benefits, or threats of reprisal. These employees — also known as “whistleblowers” — are often wrongfully punished by their employer for doing the right thing.
If you live in Philadelphia or the surrounding areas and your employer retaliated against you for legally protected whistleblowing, an experienced Philadelphia whistleblower attorney can help you understand your rights. You may be entitled to financial compensation, reinstatement of your job, and other legal remedies.
This article contains general information about protections for Philadelphia whistleblowers and their rights under the Philadelphia False Claims Ordinance, the Pennsylvania Whistleblower Law, and other relevant federal statutes. It is not a substitute for speaking to an experienced Philadelphia whistleblower attorney about your case.
If you have suffered consequences as a result of “blowing the whistle” the Philadelphia whistleblower retaliation lawyers at Console Mattiacci may be able to help.
What is a Whistleblower?
The term “whistleblowing” can refer to the act of informing a person, the company, or law enforcement authorities of wrongdoing. In the context of an employment relationship, this typically involves an employee who discloses information about their employer engaging in illegal business activities, fraud, abuse, or waste.
A whistleblower may choose to bring information or allegations of wrongdoing internally or externally. Internally, he or she may report accusations to someone within the organization that is engaged in the alleged wrongdoing or responsible for stopping the same, such as superior or human resources. Externally, a whistleblower may report wrongdoing to a government agency, law enforcement, or another concerned third party.
Even though the whistleblower is doing the right thing, taking these brave steps may lead to serious consequences and retaliation. This is when a Philadelphia whistleblower retaliation lawyer can help.
Are There Legal Protections for Philadelphia Whistleblowers?
In Philadelphia, whistleblowers are protected from retaliation and other consequences under local, state, and federal laws. A Philadelphia whistleblower retaliation lawyer can evaluate your case to determine which of these laws applies to you.
Philadelphia False Claims Act
Philadelphia is one of the few cities that has enacted a city-specific whistleblower law. The Philadelphia False Claims Act, which is found in Sections 19-3601 to 19-3606 of the Philadelphia Code, allows whistleblowers who become aware of violations of the law to submit a proposed civil complaint to the City Solicitor of Philadelphia.
Upon receiving the report, the City Solicitor of Philadelphia may pursue a civil action, designate the whistleblower to file an action on behalf of the city (this is a “qui tam” action), or decline to take action. Under this Act, a successful Philadelphia whistleblower may be entitled to receive up to 30 percent of the recovery if the claim is successful.
The Philadelphia False Claims Act is one of many laws that might apply to your Philadelphia whistleblower lawsuit. As discussed below, there are also state and federal protections for Philadelphia employees who bring wrongdoing to light.
Pennsylvania Whistleblower Law
Pennsylvania has a state Whistleblower Law, which is found in Sections 1421-1428 of the Pennsylvania Statutes. This law applies to employees who perform services for a “public body,” which is broadly defined and includes state and local government offices and governing bodies, as well as any employer that receives government funding (such as Medicare reimbursement or funding from a state agency).
Under the Pennsylvania Whistleblower Law, a whistleblower is any person who witnesses or has evidence of wrongdoing or waste and makes a good faith report to his or her superiors, an agent of the employer, or to any other appropriate authority. The report can be either verbal or in writing.
A whistleblower lawyer in Philadelphia can help you determine whether you qualify for protections and possible compensation under this state law.
Federal Whistleblower Laws
Congress has passed a number of important federal whistleblower protection statutes that apply to employees, contractors, and agents. These include:
- Federal False Claims Act: This Federal law protects whistleblowers from retaliation after they report or oppose fraud committed against the federal government.
- Sarbanes Oxley Act: Enacted in response to major corporate accounting scandals like Enron, this law (sometimes called “SOX” for short) protects certain whistleblowers from retaliation after they provide information that they reasonably believe is a violation of federal mail fraud, wire fraud, bank or security fraud, federal law relating to fraud against shareholders, or any rule or regulation of the Securities and Exchange Commission.
- Dodd Frank Act: This federal law protects certain whistleblowers from retaliation if they report wrongdoing to the Securities and Exchange Commission, Commodities Futures Trading Commission, or the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.
- Whistleblower Protection Act: This law protects employees of the federal government from retaliation after they report certain misconduct by a federal agency.
There is a long history of legal protections for whistleblowers, who play an important part in our democracy. Sometimes, you will hear certain types of whistleblower cases referred to as “qui tam” actions. The term “qui tam” is shorthand for the Latin phrase “qui tam pro domino rege quam pro se ipso in hac parte sequitur,” which roughly translates to “he who brings this action for the king as well as himself,” and dates back to England in the seventh century.
If you have been retaliated against for doing the right thing and reporting illegal or fraudulent activity, a Philadelphia whistleblower lawyer can evaluate your case and explain your legal rights. You may be entitled to financial compensation, reinstatement of your job, or other legal remedies.
Damages in a Philadelphia Whistleblower Lawsuit
Unfortunately, whistleblowers may face serious consequences including job termination, lost pay and benefits, reputational damage, and emotional distress. An experienced whistleblower lawyer in Philadelphia can determine whether you may be able to recover the following damages by filing a whistleblower lawsuit:
- Financial compensation for lost wages and benefits,
- Reinstatement of a job after termination or demotion,
- Financial compensation for emotional distress,
- Financial compensation for loss of future earnings,
- Punitive damages to punish the employer for egregious conduct, and/or
- Attorneys’ fees and costs.
Whistleblowers should be rewarded for doing the right thing. Far too often, they face retribution by their employers. These damages can help Philadelphia whistleblowers recover from some of these consequences and be rewarded for their strong sense of morality. If you believe you have a claim, contact a Philadelphia whistleblower attorney right away.
How Can a Philadelphia Whistleblower Lawyer Help?
Because the whistleblower statutes mentioned in this article are highly complex, you should not try to pursue a whistleblower retaliation lawsuit on your own. A Philadelphia whistleblower lawyer can evaluate the facts of your case and determine what options you have and whether you are entitled to compensation as a result of retaliation.
Once you are represented by a whistleblower lawyer in Philadelphia, your lawyer will handle communications related to your case, gather evidence, and fight for your rights in state or federal court.
Console Mattiacci | Philadelphia Whistleblower Attorneys
At Console Mattiacci, we represent Philadelphia whistleblowers in lawsuits against their employers. Our experienced whistleblower lawyers can evaluate your whistleblower case and fight to get you the compensation you deserve. To speak with a Philadelphia whistleblower attorney, contact Console Mattiacci or call us at (215) 545-7676.