When companies are publicly traded, it proves essential for organizations to be upfront and honest with business practices and their financial health. When employees discover inconsistencies in organizations, brave workers come forward with crucial information.
These employees risk reputation and their careers to “blow the whistle” to alert citizens of illegal actions of their own organization. New York laws provide significant protection from retaliation in these circumstances to persuade individuals to come forward with information. Know that if you come forward with a claim of illegal action by your organization, federal law protects you from financial and professional burden.
The False Claims Act
The New York False Claims Act gives authority to an individual to bring a case against an organization that that causes the U.S. government, in some way, to lose money or deprives them of products or services.
If you are a whistleblower, you may have experienced your company conduct racial discrimination during interviews or perhaps your boss was involved in bribery. In either case, you may wish to bring forward a claim against your organization even if the illegal action did not happen directly to you.
Whistleblowers and retaliation
The False Claims Act emphasizes the protection of those notifying the public of valuable information. Whistleblowing does not only involve the immediate alerting to the public of an employer’s illegal practices. Whistleblowing action includes:
- Disclosing or threatening to disclose activities, policies or practices that violate laws or regulations or threaten public health or safety
According to New York law, an employer or organization may not commit any of the following acts if an employee commits whistleblowing action.
- Other adverse employment action
Retaliation = Restitution
Remedies that New York provides for whistleblowers that are found to be retaliated against include:
- An injunction to restrain continued discrimination
- Hiring, contracting or giving back your position
- A reinstatement of all benefits and seniority rights in the organization
- A payment of two times back pay
- Compensation for damages – litigation costs and attorneys’ fees
The protection of employees when alerting the public of illegal and discriminatory action that an organization is involved with provides security in abiding by the law. Though the act of whistleblowing may prove nerve-wracking and show courage, know that the U.S. government works to protect you from any further retaliation against you.