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Refusing to commit a criminal act or bringing criminal acts to light is an illegal justification to be fired from work or demoted. Dothan Attorney Billy J. Sheffield, II is committed to upholding and provides experienced representation for those filing whistleblower claims. Whether involving Medicaid/Medicare fraud or tax fraud, we represent individuals who have been fired by:
Alabama Whistleblower Claims
Employees in Dothan Alabama are protected from workplace retaliation when they engage in behavior that is protected for public policy reasons. Federal and state laws exist to protect these employees who are courageous enough to report wrongdoing in the workplace. These employees are often referred to as whistleblowers, and cannot be terminated or otherwise punished by their companies for making good faith reports of misconduct to the proper authorities.
The False Claims Act protects these employees on the federal level, while Alabama has several statutes that set out protections for both public and private employees. There are different requirements for public and private employees, so if you are considering being a whistleblower, you may want to consult with an experienced attorney first.
Some whistleblowing activities that are protected from retaliation include:
Reporting discriminatory behavior
Reporting wage or hour violations
Reporting health or safety code violations
Making a claim for worker’s compensation
Reporting any other conduct that you believe to be dangerous, unethical or fraudulent
Alabama also has specific laws that protect whistleblowers in the health care field.
Understanding Qui Tam Lawsuits and Claims
Qui Tam claims are a particular kind of whistleblower lawsuit in which a private individual files a claim against a third party that he or she alleges has participated in fraudulent government contracting processes. Modern Qui tam actions are brought under the False Claims Act, and allow the whistleblower to receive a certain percentage of the recovered damages. In order to file such a claim, the whistleblower must have credible and verifiable information about the alleged fraud. These claims are generally based on significant and continuous acts of fraud, and not on minor errors in accounting or technical violations.
Once a claim is filed, it is kept under seal for 60 days in order to give the United States Department of Justice time to investigate the claim and decide whether to join the suit as a plaintiff. It is important to note that the law provides whistleblowers significant protections from retaliatory actions on the part of the defendant. What this means is that if an employee of a company decides to expose that company’s fraud against the government, he or she may not be fired or otherwise penalized for bringing a claim.
Anyone who believes that they may have a qui tam claim against their employer or other party should be certain to consult with an experienced Dothan Alabama employment attorney as soon as possible. Some examples of the kinds of conduct that may give rise to a qui tam lawsuit include the following:
Receiving compensation for knowingly defective products
Overbilling of time
Overcharging for time or services
Misallocation of funds earmarked for specific projects or programs
Billing for more expensive equipment that the equipment provided
Charging for services not performed
Experienced Employment Law Representation
If you believe you have a whistleblower claim, you should always contact an experienced Dothan Alabama employment law attorney for help and guidance. You should also contact an attorney immediately if you believed you have been terminated, demoted, or otherwise retaliated against as a result of a complaint or report you made regarding your employer. Our team at Billy J Sheffield Laws has experience in whistleblower and retaliation cases and our staff is dedicated to helping protect the brave employees who report unethical or dangerous conduct in the workplace.