Your Rights Under the Florida Whistleblower Act
According to ARA Fraud & Forensic Services, 31 percent of privately owned businesses are susceptible to employee fraud, and an average of five percent of the country’s privately held business’ revenue is lost annually as a result. The median loss caused by fraud is $145,000, while 22 percent of businesses lost more than $1 million.
While private sector fraud is a major issue for employers and the economy, corporate fraud is a much larger battle, as it nearly always affects the government and its taxpayers. According to the IRS, in the fiscal year of 2015, 75 corporate fraud investigations were opened, and 43 perpetrators were sentenced.
Corporate fraud is on the rise, and the government relies heavily on employees to spot and report fraudulent activity within corporations. The act of reporting fraud – corporate or otherwise – is referred to as “whistleblowing,” and is unfamiliar territory for many individuals. The most experience that most individuals have with whistleblowers is via television, and unfortunately, TV shows and movies tend to make whistleblowing out to be a precarious and foolish act. Because of this, when faced with the hard evidence of fraud, most employees will opt to turn the other cheek.
You Are Protected Under the Whistleblower Act
It is the sole job of Hollywood directors and writers to take everyday occurrences—such as corporate fraud—and turn them into tales of tragedy, doom, and destruction. However, in real life, corporate fraud is not so glamorous, and whistleblowing is not as precarious as Hollywood has made it out to be.
Under the Whistleblower Protection Act of 1989, whistleblowers are protected in the event that they stop, report, or testify against an employer for actions that are illegal, unhealthy, or that go against specific public policies. Under the act, employers cannot commit acts of retaliation against the whistleblowing employee. Acts of retaliation include:
- Denying a promotion;
- Disciplining of any kind;
- Denial of benefits;
- Intimidation and/or harassment;
- Making threats
- Reducing pay or hours; or
- Reassigning job duties and/or a promotion.
What is Considered Fraud?
At the Pendas Law Firm, we typically deal with cases of corporate fraud that include one or more of the following acts:
- Tax evasion or tax fraud;
- Overbilling Medicare/Medicaid;
- Failure to pay overtime benefits;
- Defense contract overcharging;
- Aerospace contract overcharging;
- Pharmaceutical/health care fraud; and
- TARP funds fraud.
If you become privy to any knowledge whatsoever regarding fraudulent activity within your company, it is your duty and right as a US employee to shed light on the situation so that the authorities can step in and remedy the situation.
When to Hire an Orlando Whistleblower Claims Lawyer
Our experienced lawyers at The Pendas Law Firm recommend seeking legal counsel as soon as you learn of fraudulent activity. Because of the seriousness of claims of corporate fraud, and because of the risks that whistleblowing can pose to your career, it would be wise to speak with a whistleblower claims lawyer before you take any further action. If you suspect that your company or someone within your company is guilty of fraud, contact our Orlando law firm at 1-888-LPENDAS or schedule a private consultation online today. We service clients in the in Orlando, Tampa, Fort Myers, Jacksonville, West Palm Beach, Fort Lauderdale & Miami.