miami whistleblower lawyer

Whistleblowers are essential in ensuring that corporate malfeasance and government waste are exposed to the public. However, retaliation is a risk of whistleblowing, and the aftermath can be overwhelming without the proper legal guidance.

At Gregg M. Goldfarb, LLP, we understand the challenges that whistleblowers face. So we collaborate with premier law firms in Miami that are well-versed in the nuances of qui tam and whistleblower actions. If you reported or are considering reporting your employer’s or another entity’s unethical or illegal acts, we can help protect your rights.

Contact us now for a free consultation with a knowledgeable attorney experienced in Miami whistleblower litigation.

What Is a Whistleblower/Qui Tam Claim?

A whistleblower or qui tam claim is a legal action in which a private individual or party (“relator”) sues an entity suspected of defrauding the government or misconduct. The law incentivizes relators to come forward by offering a portion of any financial recovery resulting from the lawsuit.

Qui tam claims often involve healthcare fraud, defense contract fraud, and other forms of financial wrongdoing involving government funds. These claims often fall under the False Claims Act at the federal level, but many states, including Florida, have their own false claims laws.

Florida law provides a detailed compensation structure for whistleblower plaintiffs:

  • Proceeds from Government Action If the government takes up the case and wins, the individual who initiated the claim may be entitled to 15 to 25 percent of the proceeds recovered.
  • Based on Public Disclosures – If the action is based on information disclosed publicly and not provided by the whistleblower, the court may award up to 10 percent of the proceeds.
  • Private Prosecution – If the government chooses not to proceed with the action and the individual goes ahead with the lawsuit, they are entitled to 25 to 30 percent of the money.
  • Attorney’s Fees and Costs – The person bringing the action can also recover compensation for reasonable attorney’s fees and costs if they receive money from a successful qui tam claim.

The laws ensure that the whistleblower gets financial compensation for their risk and effort and that agencies affected by fraudulent activities receive compensation for their losses.

What Are Examples of Whistleblower Claims?

Whistleblower claims can arise across various industries and sectors. Whistleblower claims often involve the following:

  • Healthcare fraud
  • Securities fraud
  • Tax evasion
  • Environmental violations
  • Government contract fraud
  • Insider trading
  • False advertising
  • Data breach cover-ups
  • Wage and hour law violations
  • Bribery and corruption
  • Discrimination or harassment cover-ups
  • Academic fraud
  • Intellectual property theft
  • Medicare or Medicaid fraud
  • Transportation safety violations
  • Product safety violations
  • Misuse of government funds

What Can You Do If You Suspect Your Employer Is Breaking the Law?

Prompt and calculated action is essential if you know or suspect your employer is engaging in illegal activities. To ensure the issue receives proper attention and safeguard your rights as a whistleblower, you should do the following:

  • Document the suspected illegal activity.
  • Preserve evidence like photos or documents.
  • Consult your employee handbook.
  • Seek legal advice as soon as possible.
  • Report the violation internally.
  • Maintain a record of communications.
  • Consider filing a qui tam claim.
  • Prepare for possible retaliation.
  • Monitor your company’s response.
  • Seek alternative employment if necessary.
  • File an official report with regulatory agencies.
  • Participate in any investigations as needed.
  • Consult your lawyer if legal action is warranted.

What Law or Laws Protect Employees in a Miami Whistleblower Claim?

Two fundamental laws offer protection Miami employees who file whistleblower claims: the Florida False Claims Act and the Whistle-blower’s Act.

Florida False Claims Act Protections

The Florida False Claims Act protects employees who take part in qui tam actions, shielding them from retaliation by their employers. Under the law, employers cannot discharge, demote, suspend, threaten, harass, or otherwise discriminate against employees because of their lawful qui tam actions.

These protections empower employees to come forward with information about fraud or wrongdoing without fear of professional repercussions. If an employee experiences retaliation, they could have a cause of action under the Whistle-blower’s Act.

Whistle-blower’s Act Protections

The Whistle-blower’s Act aims to prevent retaliation against employees for exposing legal violations that substantially threaten public health, safety, or welfare. This extends to disclosures about improper use of governmental office, gross waste of funds, and other abuse or neglect of duty.

The Act protects whistleblowers from dismissal and any other form of discipline or adverse personnel action in retaliation for their whistleblowing activities. Employees protected under this Act can file complaints seeking remedies like reinstatement, back pay, and legal fees.