Sometimes, employees are the first to know in cases of government fraud. Before the government has a clue what's going on, the savvy employee realizes his or her employer is committing fraud on a huge scale. At this point, the employee is torn - should he or she become a "whistleblower"? If so, what protection will she or he get? And what are the benefits to blowing the proverbial whistle on fraudulent activities?
Enter the Whistleblower Laws, which have changed the landscape for heroic whistleblowers who might otherwise have been hesitant to come forward with information on fraudulent actions by their employers (or other entities).The Whistleblower Laws encourage employees to come forward with illegal activity information by providing monetary compensation offers to those who help win cases by supplying valuable insights and information against companies that are defrauding the government. Whistleblower Laws also give whistleblowing employees a measure of safety and security by protecting their rights against retaliation.
Let's face it - becoming a whistleblower isn't an easy decision. However, the government has realized that without brave employees coming forward, it will lose billions of dollars each year. (And remember - the government is really you and me, "We the People." That means our pockets are being picked when the government's pocket is picked.)
There are several acts under the Whistleblower Laws. One of the most recent is the Sarbanes-Oxley Act (SOX), which came into being in 2002 as a result of the high-profile Enron scandal. SOX gives employees an added measure of protection against retribution from angry employers; thus, the employee cannot be harassed, unfairly terminated, or otherwise abused. If he or she is, the employer will have to pay significant amounts of restitution.
Whistleblower Laws provide for whistleblowers to receive an amount of the monetary settlement that the defendant makes as a result of any whistleblower lawsuit. The percentage received is usually 15-30% (as per an addition to the False Claims Act that was signed by President Ronald Reagan in the mid-1980s). Attorney's fees and other costs associated with whistleblowing are also awarded to plaintiffs who act on behalf of the government in filing suits under the Whistleblower Law.8/8