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Whistleblower/Retaliation

Our attorneys understand whistleblower matters can be challenging. We're here to help.

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Whistleblower Attorneys

Employees who see safety issues or unlawful conduct in the workplace should be encouraged to speak up, not stay silent in fear of retaliation.  Fortunately, state and federal laws provide powerful remedies for employees who voice their concerns and are subjected to reprisals. We have extensive experience using these laws to represent whistleblowers and have recovered tens of millions of dollars on our clients’ behalf.

Employers that discipline, demote or fire employees who complain about suspected unlawful conduct in the workplace may have grounds to seek redress.  Types of whistleblowing activities may include:

  • Reporting false claims made by employers to obtain federal or state funds
  • Reporting insurance fraud
  • Reporting safety issues
  • Discussing pay or workplace conditions with coworkers or publicly
  • Participating in workplace investigations
  • Reporting co-worker or manager harassment or discrimination
  • Reporting unequal pay or unlawful pay practices
  • Filing complaints with federal or state agencies against your employer

The attorneys at Olivier Schreiber & Chao have extensive experience with various types of whistleblower claims, including:

  • California Labor Code Whistleblower Protection: California Labor Code Section 1102.5 broadly protects whistleblower employees in California. Under this law, it is unlawful for an employer to retaliate against an employee for disclosing information that the employee reasonably believes may violate a local, state, or federal law, rule, or regulation.  The law also applies when the employer retaliates because it believes the employee may make a protected disclosure, even if the disclosure has not yet occurred.  A protected disclosure includes statements made to government or law enforcement agencies, to an employee’s manager or a co-worker with authority to investigate or correct the violation. The law also protects employees who experience retaliation for refusing to participate in an activity that would violate a state or federal statute or local, state, or federal rule or regulation.  The law protects employees, even if the employer ultimately proves that its actions were not unlawful, as long as you have a reasonable belief that a law, rule or regulation was violated.  Our firm has successfully represented individuals in negotiations and, if necessary, through litigation and trial, who have experienced retaliation.
  • Federal and California False Claims Act/Qui Tam: Fraudulent claims against federal and state agencies are not allowed under the law. For example, if your employer is a federal or state contractor and it is making false statements in order to obtain federal funds, this may be a false claims violation.  You may be able to bring a claim on behalf of the government even if you were not retaliated against by your employer.  The California False Claims Act and the Federal False Claims Act permit whistleblowers to file actions to enforce the law and recover funds for the government.  Successful actions permit whistleblowers to claim a share of the government’s recovery.  False claims cases are complex and require experienced attorneys to pursue them.  Our firm has represented whistleblowers and recovered tens of millions of dollars on behalf of state and federal governments.  Specific fraudulent schemes challenged under false claims laws include:
    • Fraudulent Billing: Billing Medicare, Medicaid or even private insurance for unnecessary services or services not performed.
    • Kickbacks: Providing payments or benefits to medical providers in exchange for referrals.
    • Bank Fraud: False statement to federally insured entities or other types of bank or mortgage fraud.
  • Federal Dodd-Frank Whistleblower Act: If you work in the securities industry and you are aware of securities violations occurring within your company that you want to see remedied, you may be a whistleblower entitled to the protections of this law.
  • Federal Sarbanes-Oxley (SOX) Act: The SOX Act protects whistleblowers who are employees of publicly traded companies and who report or wish to report certain types of corporate fraud.
  • California also has specific laws to protect employees and sometimes other types of workers such as contractors who have experienced retaliation for:
    • Complaining about discrimination in the workplace.
    • Notifying government agencies of suspected unsafe patient care and conditions.
    • Reporting unsafe working conditions to an employer or a government agency.
    • Disclosing information about working conditions.

Whistleblower and retaliation matters are complex and challenging to navigate.  It may be necessary or advisable to remain anonymous in making a whistleblower complaint.  Our firm works closely with clients to carefully address their concerns and the resolutions they are seeking, whether it is protection from retaliation, reinstatement, compensation for loss, or holding the defendant accountable for corporate wrongdoing.  We can assist clients in making anonymous reports to government agencies, filing protected whistleblower complaints, negotiating resolutions for a defendant’s retaliation, and litigating these cases in the courts.  Contact an attorney at Olivier Schreiber & Chao for help.

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