At the Law Office of Jeffrey A. Goldberg, our Austin whistleblower claims lawyer has more than three decades of experience representing employees and executives. We are firmly committed to protecting whistleblower rights. If you are a whistleblower and you believe that your rights were violated, our legal team is more than ready to help. To schedule a free, completely confidential case evaluation with a top-rated Texas attorney, please contact us today.
We Protect Whistleblower Rights in Austin, Texas
What is a Whistleblower in Texas?
The term “Whistleblower” has many different meanings and relates to many different situations. There are many specific laws, Federal and State, that provide definitions and protections to employees and executives that may be considered “Whistleblowers”.
Whistleblowers are employees who work for public or private entities that report fraud, abuse, wrongdoing or illegal activity by the employer or its employees. If the employee reports such conduct, the employee is protected from retaliation. In other words, the employer may not terminate, suspend, demote, write up or otherwise treat the employee unfairly because the employee made a report of fraud or illegal conduct.
In addition to protection from retaliation, Whistleblowers may be financially rewarded for disclosing the fraud. The Whistleblower may be entitled to a percentage of what may be recovered against the employer and, if retaliated against or terminated, reinstatement to employment, back pay, attorneys fees and other damages depending on the particular law that may have been violated.
The definition of Whistleblower in Texas, as defined by The Texas Whistleblower Act, is a public employee who makes good faith reports of violations of law by their employer to an appropriate law enforcement authority. The Texas Whistleblower Act only protects public employees. Public employees are those who may work at the State or local level of government. There are very short time limitations to notify the employer of any fraud, waste or abuse and a lawsuit must be filed not later than 90 days after the violation.
Texas also has a law designed to encourage health care providers to report billing fraud and financial abuse in the medical setting. The Texas Medicaid Fraud Prevention Act encourages employees and executives who are aware of Medicaid fraud to expose the fraud and provides financial rewards for the Whistleblower, and legal protections from retaliation for reporting such fraud. The rewards and penalties assessed against employers who violate the Act can be significant.
Federal Whistleblower Laws
Employees and executives in Texas can disclose financial fraud and abuse related to a number of Federal Whistleblower laws designed to encourage reports while providing financial incentives and protections to Whistleblowers. Some of the Federal Whistleblower laws are listed below:
The False Claims Act—Qui Tam Actions
This law was first used during the Civil War to stop fraud by contractors against the federal government. Essentially, the law is designed to protect against fraud by submitting false claims for payment to the government. The law was originally signed by President Abraham Lincoln and was later amended in 1986 and subsequent years to expand the scope of fraud covered by Federal laws.
The False Claims Act protects the government against a company falsifying information to obtain public funds, overcharging for products or services, providing the government with inferior products or services, keeping an accidental overpayment from the government, or avoiding paying the government.
Claims can be brought by anyone with proof of the fraud, including people who are not company employees. Entities or individuals who present false claims for payment the government can be held liable and accountable for the government’s damages plus civil penalties. Individuals who bring such claims are known as “relators” and are brought as a “qui tam” claim. Relators are the “Whistleblowers” and can receive a significant financial reward, up to 30%, of amounts recovered against an individual or entity engaged in the fraud.
Qui Tam claims may be brought against individuals, entities, employers and non-profits. Anyone or any entity that makes a false claim for payment from the government may be liable.
Current, former employees, or even non-employees may be considered a “whistleblower”. It is extremely important to have first-hand information and evidence of any potential fraud that may be occurring.
There are a number of federal Whistleblower laws that relate to potential fraud against the government that provide protection and incentive to individuals to expose financial fraud. Several include: The IRS Whistleblower Program; Dodd-Frank and laws relating to Medicare and Medicaid fraud.
If you are a health care provider, work in the health care business, or work with a health care provider or business, you may be aware of fraud, or fraudulent activity, particularly billing to Medicare or Medicaid. The federal and state government, and individuals, are routinely over-billed for Medicare and Medicaid services. If you are aware of such activity and over-billing, you may be a Whistleblower.
Whistleblowers help stop fraud. They expose illegal, unsafe, or fraudulent conduct within a company, organization, or government entity.
How Board Certified Labor and Employment Lawyer Jeffrey A. Goldberg Can Help
Whistleblower rights cases are complex. In order to figure out if you are a Whistleblower and have legal rights and remedies, you need an experienced, Board Certified Labor and Employment attorney on your side. When you call our office, you will have an opportunity to speak directly to our office to provide detailed information about the case. Our Austin Whistleblower Claims Lawyer will personally, and timely, review your information to:
- Conduct a free, in-depth case evaluation of your case;
- Evaluate whether you have a whistleblower claim and if your whistleblower rights may have been violated;
- If the firm is able to represent you, the firm will thoroughly investigate the claim—gathering evidence and information; and
- Take immediate legal action focused on getting you justice, fairness and compensation.
Contact Our Austin, Texas Whistleblower Claims Lawyer for Help
At the Law Office of Jeffrey A. Goldberg, our Austin whistleblower claims lawyer is an aggressive, effective advocate for employees. We will protect you against unlawful retaliation and other types of mistreatment in the workplace. Contact us today or call (512) 598-4147 for a free review of your case. We represent whistleblowers in Austin and throughout the region, including in Travis County, Hays County, and Williamson County.