Sometimes, people working in big business learn about unfair or deceptive practices. Examples of fraudulent practices include “cooking the books,” shareholder fraud, lying on tax returns or the production of potentially dangerous or mislabeled products.
“Whistleblowing” refers to an employee that exposes illegal or unethical activity at their workplace, either private or public. A whistleblower can bring forth accusations internally within their company or externally by contacting an outside third party. A whistleblower can reach out to law enforcement, the media or the government regarding the allegations.
“Whistleblowers” Are Protected
A company cannot legally terminate an employee for blowing the whistle on illegal activity. Laws exist that disallow specific types of unlawful or unethical corporate activities specifically to protect employee whistleblowers. Laws differ by state-a whistleblower attorney can meet with you to discuss the details and help you determine the best course of action. The statute of limitations regarding a whistleblower case differs by state; your whistleblower attorney can help you navigate the issue.
As an example, in the mid-2000s, a large pharmaceutical company (AstraZeneca) engaged in a far-reaching effort to market the drug Seroquel. One of the company’s drug salespeople learned of it, became a whistleblower and reported it to the federal government.
In April 2010, the company agreed to pay back $520 million to the federal government.
Federal and state whistleblower laws offer substantial rewards to those brave enough to report abuses. Federal and state statutes have been enacted to protect whistleblowers from possible retaliation.
Learn more about how whistleblowers are protected at the Taxpayers Against Fraud Education Fund. They have extensive information about whistleblower cases and programs.
How We Can Help
If you work for a large company or organization and are aware of such practices or if your employer terminated you for refusing to participate in what you see is illegal activity, you can contact the Leader Law Firm for a free, confidential consultation. We will listen, answer your questions and help you make an informed decision about taking legal action.
Resources: Arizona Whistleblower Complaint Statutes