Whether you are a government or private sector employee, there is a pretty good chance you interact with sensitive information or documentation during the course of your job. If something appears sinister or if someone is committing fraud, it is your duty to let the authorities know about the misconduct. This is known as whistleblowing.
However, simply blowing the whistle may not be enough. Depending on the circumstances, you might be called upon to help with investigations, give testimonies and participate in other steps to ensure that justice is served. During this time, it is important that you avoid mistakes that can ruin the entire case.
Here are two mistakes you need to avoid when handling your whistleblower case.
Overlooking your protections
In California, whistleblowers are protected by both the Federal Claims Act and California’s False Claims Act. To enjoy these protections, however, the illegal actions for which you are blowing the whistle must fall within certain categories. These can include billing for services that were never provided, demanding kickbacks, upcoding or billing for medical procedures that were not rendered in the first place. Before blowing the whistle, it is important that you understand the laws that apply to your situation as well as the nature of the protections they offer you.
Failing to understand public policy
Besides protecting organizations and government agencies, whistleblower laws are also intended to protect the public. For instance, if a government agency is defrauded of funds, it is the taxpayers who are hurt the most. For this reason, it is important to establish if your claim violates public policy and interest. Is the wrongdoing for which you are about to blow the whistle a threat to public interests?
A whistleblower case, when handled correctly, can save the government or organization from fraud, help bring the perpetrator to account and compensate affected parties. Find out how you can avoid costly mistakes when handling your whistleblower case.