Archive for the ‘Qui Tam / Whistleblower’ Category

Experienced Mississippi Whistleblower Attorney Advises Clients on the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act

Monday, October 30th, 2017

Questions have arisen about the Trump administration’s interest and willingness to enforce the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA). The concern was raised during President Trump’s campaign, when then when memories of then-businessman Trump called the FCPA a “horrible law” in 2012. However, Attorney General Jeff Sessions recently affirmed the Trump administration’s commitment to enforce it. How does this affirmation affect potential whistleblowers?

In a nutshell, the FCPA prohibits Americans and American companies from bribing foreign officials in an effort to attract or retain a business relationship. Sessions confirmed that the Department of Justice (DOJ) will continue to enforce the FCPA, meaning that whistleblowers who report illegal payments to foreign governments will continued to receive the backing of the DOJ. If you find yourself in a position where your employer is engaging in the sort of illegal conduct prohibited by the FCPA, you need an experienced attorney to provide you with advice on how to navigate this extremely difficult situation. In addition to whistleblowing being the right thing to do, there are also financial rewards under the FCPA for those who alert the government to corporate bribes to foreign nations.

History of the FCPA

Enacted forty years ago, the FCPA, 15 U.S.C. §§ 78dd-1, makes it against the law for all United States companies or individuals to bribe foreign officials on an effort to  to obtaining or retain business. In short, your employer cannot engage in “pay to play” with other countries. Additionally, the FCPA also requires companies to document how they do business with foreign countries in an effort to maintain a record of all transactions. This latter requirement is in place to make sure that there is a record of payments to foreign nations. This prevents senior members of a company’s leadership from claiming that they had no way of knowing that illegal payments were being made.

What is the New Administration’s View of the FCPA?

In 2012, then business leader Trump trivialized the FCPA’s noble goals by suggesting that the rest of the world conducts business through bribes and other illegal payments, and that the United States’ decision to prevent those sorts of payments was pollyanna thinking.  Trump stated then that the FCPA is a “horrible law” and “the world is laughing at us” because of the U.S.’s stance. He suggested that the FCPA put U.S. companies at a competitive disadvantage abroad. Obviously, memories of these statements made anti-corruption advocates nervous once Trump was elected president. As a result, attorney General Sessions’ affirmation that the DOJ will continue to enforce the law was welcomed by those who feared that the new administration may either let it go unenforced or, worse, actively undermine its stated goal of leveling the international business playing field.

Financial Rewards for Whistleblowers

If you are aware of bribes being paid to a foreign nation, you may be entitled to a significant reward for your decision to become a whistleblower.  The Sarbanes-Oxley Act and the Dodd-Frank Act require the Securities and Exchange Commission to pay potentially significant rewards to whistleblowers who choose to notify the government of foreign bribery. The Dodd-Frank Act awards whistleblowers 10 to 30 percent of any money recovered of over $1 million that the agency attains from a violator after an enforcement action.

If you are employed by a company that is paying bribes to attract or retain business with a foreign nation, you need experienced Mississippi whistleblower counsel now.

Contact the Mississippi Whistleblower Attorney at (800) 707-9577 to speak to a Mississippi whistleblower immediately if you think you may be a Foreign Corrupt Practices Act whistleblower.  Not only is alerting the United States government the right thing to do, that act may entitle you to significant financial reward.

Do You Have Enough Evidence to File a Whistleblower Lawsuit?

Thursday, October 19th, 2017

Being a whistleblower is another term for bringing a “qui tam” claim, which is a latin term meaning “he who sues for the king and himself.” In short, as a whistleblower in a qui tam case you are uncovering corruption for the good of society, but are also prosecuting a case to attain some financial reward for yourself. To get that financial reward, a qui tam investigation needs to gather significant evidence that fraud has actually occurred and then report it before someone else does. This can be a long and painstaking process. Before commencing a qui tam claim, you need to look at the evidence you already possess, the evidence you can obtain, and what key evidence you will be unable to obtain.

Because we now live in a world where business communications are largely conducted digitally, whether by email, text, or voice over internet phones, a large body of digital evidence may be available to you in the normal course of your job. Attaining and organizing this body of evidence is the first step, and an attorney will use this information to judge whether there is a sufficient evidentiary foundation to build a case around.

After that initial review, you may have to take a more stressful step of attaining evidence that you do not readily have access to. This is not a step to be taken without legal advice regarding what additional pieces of evidence are critical and how to legally attain them. Close communication with your legal counsel is key at this step, as several factors impact what information you can gather and whether you can distribute it.  Your legal status within the company, as well as any medical or legal privilege that may limit your ability to disseminate certain types of records, must be carefully considered.

There will usually also be information you cannot obtain or cannot obtain without undue risk to yourself, your career, or undue risk of discovery. Deciding what evidence is crucial and whether or not to continue to try to obtain it is a difficult decision best made with the advice of experienced counsel. The decision to continue seeking evidence or to simply file your claim is not an easy one, in part because time is of the essence.

You may be the only person to see that actual fraud is being committed, but others may also know or sense that something is amiss. Given the many ways in which most businesses are audited and tracked, other employees may also be starting to sense that something is “not right.”  That means that if you delay filing your qui tam claim too long, either due to indecision, fear, or a desire to gather additional evidence, you may lose “first-to-file” status. Losing the status means you receive no financial reward, as while the government is extremely interested in reports of fraud, they are not particularly interested in a second report of a fraud their already aware of. As a result, keeping your suspicions and evidence gathering to yourself is vital, as is the legal decision regarding whether you have sufficient evidence to go forward.

If you believe that fraud is occurring in your workplace, contact Barrett Law now at (800) 707-9577. This is not a situation for amateurs or even for attorneys who do not specialize in qui tam cases.  Barrett Law has the experience required to protect you and successfully bring a whistleblower claim on your behalf.

Barrett Law has a Mississippi Whistleblower Attorney with experience in protecting whistleblowers’ rights and attaining their financial rewards. Do not hesitate; call us for a consultation today.

Mississippi Whistleblower Defense Attorney Answers the Question: Can I File a Whistleblower Case Anonymously?

Saturday, October 14th, 2017

Given the high stakes of filing a whistleblower claim and the potential risks involved, clients sometimes ask whether a whistleblower or “qui tam” suit can be filed anonymously.  Whistleblower claims are made under the False Claims Act and actually must be filed anonymously at first. The question is how strong that anonymity is and how long it will be until your name becomes known to those whom you have alerted the federal government to. There is no exact timeline regarding how long a whistleblower can remain anonymous, but the following guidelines can help give you some perspective on this question.

Under the False Claims Act’s terminology, a whistleblower is called a “relator.”  By law, relators must file their claims or “blow the whistle” under seal. That means that the relator’s allegations of fraud are only known to the court and the federal government. This process provides the federal government an opportunity to look into the claim without the tipping anyone else off about the fraud. Accordingly, the relator is anonymous to everyone except the government and court at this stage; that said, if the federal government starts investigating the relator’s employer and begins looking into issues closely tied to the relator, an inference regarding the relator’s identity may materialize.

The False Claims Act only protects the relator’s identity for 60 days; after that, the seal may be lifted. The seal may also be extended while the government continues its investigation. An important point to consider is that the federal government, not the relator, decides whether the seal will be extended or lifted.

Once the seal on a case is lifted, a whistleblower case resembles other civil litigation. That means that the defendant—the relator’s employer—is served with a civil complaint. A civil complaint is a public list of allegations of wrongdoing. While there is no requirement that a civil complaint name the relator by name, a complaint will be descriptive of the conduct at issue, and it is unlikely that an employer would not figure out who the relator is based on those allegations. In the off chance that a defendant is unaware of the relator’s identity after being served with a complaint, either the relator or the government will have to disclose the name as a witness once the discovery process begins, where the parties exchange evidence, including witness names.

Not every qui tam case filed under the False Claims Act goes forward after the federal government investigates it. Sometimes the federal government decides not to join in the suit, which usually means it feels it is not particularly strong. The relator can still pursue the case alone, but this is a high risk proposition without the government’s backing. In that case, the relator may want to dismiss the case while it is still under seal. Unfortunately, a dismissed case is no longer under seal, meaning that the relator is no longer necessarily anonymous, as the dismissed claim is a public record. While it is possible to have a judge seal a dismissed case, this is rarely done, except when there are direct threats against a whistleblower. In the end, the relator’s identity will likely be known, even if the case is ultimately dismissed.

The False Claims Act does protect whistleblowers from retaliation. A whistleblower cannot be fired, demoted, threatened, harassed, or be the recipient of discrimination by the employer, and a separate retaliation claim can lead to financial penalties against the employer.

Call Barrett Law now at (800) 707-9577 if you are a whistleblower.

Being a relator is a stressful process requiring experienced legal advice to protect your identity and rights. Contact our Mississippi Whistleblower Defense Attorney to relieve that stress and receive the legal advice you need. Barrett Law is a Mississippi whistleblower defense firm with a track record of successfully protecting our clients’ rights in qui tam claims under the False Claims Act. Having expert legal advice by your side can mean the difference between receiving your share of a False Claims Act judgment and losing your career and livelihood. Call us today.

 

Mississippi Qui Tam Lawyer Discusses The False Claims Act and Whistleblowers

Friday, September 29th, 2017

A whistleblower is a person who exposes his or her employer of engaging in conduct that is illegal or harmful to the public. Reporting the illegal conduct of one’s own employer can be frightening, and can have consequences. In order to encourage people to come forward when they have incriminating information about their employers, there are certain laws that protect whistleblowers. If a whistleblower is reporting fraudulent acts taken against the United States government, the False Claims Act can be used to both protect and reward the whistleblower.

What is the False Claims Act?

The False Claims Act, also referred to as “Lincoln’s Law,” has existed since 1863, when it was enacted to combat fraudulent acts committed against the Federal Government. The law allows an individual to sue on behalf of the government in what is called a “qui tam” action.

What types of violations are included under the False Claims Act?

The False Claims Act can be used to sue individuals who falsify records or make false statements in order to either get money paid to them from the government that they are not actually owed, or to avoid paying all or some of the money that they owe to the government. Additionally, if a person has temporary possession of something that is government property, and fails to return the property in its entirety, they can be sued under the False Claims Act. One of the most common areas in which people commit violations of the False Claims Act is in Medicare and Medicaid fraud. For example, healthcare facilities might bill Medicare for services that were never actually provided to the patient, or that were completely unnecessary.

What does the whistleblower get in return for filing the claim?

When a whistleblower files a “qui tam” action, he or she has the possibility to recover an award if the claim is successful. While the act originally allowed whistleblowers to collect 50% of the damages, it has since been reduced to between 15 and 30%. In some cases, whistleblowers are also protected from retaliation. The False Claims Act might require that an employee who was fired for their actions be reinstated, receive double back pay, and damages for the cost of litigating the claim, and attorney fees.

How does a “qui tam” action take place?

In a “qui tam” action, the individual reporting the violations files a suit against the violating party in Federal Court. When the suit is first filed, only the person filing the suit, referred to as the “relator,” and the government will know what the claim is about. It is then up to the government to decide whether or not to take over the claim. If the government does not take over the claim, then the relator may proceed with the case themselves. If the government does take over the claim and is successful, the relator will receive an award equal to 15-25% of what the government recovers. I the relator continues after the government chose not to intervene, then he or she can collect up to 30% of the award.

If you are in the position to report fraud on behalf on your employer, it is important that you seek the advice of an experienced attorney. There is a lot at stake in these cases, and an attorney can help you figure out the safest course of action to take given the circumstances that you are facing.  Contact Barrett Law PLLC today at (800) 707-9577 to learn more about how our seasoned Mississippi Qui Tam Lawyer can make a difference for you.

Mississippi Qui Tam Lawyer Discusses Environmental Whistleblowers

Friday, September 15th, 2017

Most federal environmental laws were enacted between the 1960’s and 1980’s, although statutes designed to protect the environment, including waterways and harbors have existed for much longer. It is important to remember that many of these laws are not just intended to protect wildlife, but are designed to protect people from being exposed to contaminated drinking water, dangerous chemicals, and polluted air. When companies violate environmental laws, they could be exposing us all too serious health hazards.

In many cases, a violation of an environmental protection law will only be discovered by an employee of the violating company. This is why the environmental statutes provide whistleblower protections to employees who report conduct that violates the law.

Federal Environmental Statutes

There are seven federal statutes that designed to protect the environment, and that provide whistleblower protections. These are:

  • The Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act of 1980 (CERCLA). This law sometimes referred to as the “Superfund Law,” creates regulations for disposing of and removing hazardous waste.
  • The Energy Reorganization Act, which is concerned with safety issues related to nuclear
  • The Water Pollution Control Act (WPCA, often called the “Clean Water Act”), which regulates water pollutants, discharge into waterways and creates standards for water quality.
  • The Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA) set standards for drinking water quality and protects the public supply of drinking water.
  • The Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) allows the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to place restrictions on chemicals and to set testing, reporting and recordkeeping requirements for chemicals.
  • The Clean Air Act allows the EPA to regulate air emissions and set air quality standards in order to protect the public from hazardous air pollution.
  • The Solid Waste Disposal Act (SWDA) sets regulations for the disposal and handling of hazardous and non-hazardous solid waste.

When a Whistleblower is protected

Among other things, employees are protected when they report violations of the law to the EPA, report to a supervisor concerning the violation, report to a media outlet, or refuse to partake in the illegal activity. The protections apply to formal employees but can extend even to independent contractors.

If an employee reports a suspected violation but turns out to be mistaken, that employee can still be covered by whistleblower protections. This is because the laws are designed to encourage people to speak out, and not to make people feel as though they have to conduct their own investigation before reporting the violation.

It is possible to engage in activities that would not be considered protected. For instance, if an employee engaged in a violent encounter with his or her supervisor over the violation occurring, and subsequently loses his or her job, the protections might not apply.

What the laws protect against

Employees are protected from “adverse actions” that are taken in retaliation for their reporting of a violation. Thus if an employee is fired, demoted, receives a pay cut or is looked over for a promotion as a result of their reporting of the violation, they can file a complaint with OSHA.

Of course, the employee will have to show a causal relationship between the adverse action and the whistleblowing activity. It is obviously unlikely that an employee receives a letter stating that they are being terminated because they reported the company to the EPA though, so inferences can be made. If you received positive work reviews for three years, and then were terminated shortly after speaking out about a violation, that would be evidence that the firing was connected to your status as a whistleblower.

Contact Barrett Law PLLC today

To learn more about how the seasoned Mississippi Qui Tam Lawyer at Barrett Law PLLC can help you, contact the firm at (800) 707-9577 today.

Potential Whistleblowers, Proceed with Caution, Warns Mississippi Qui Tam Lawyer

Saturday, September 2nd, 2017

Potential Whistleblowers, Proceed with Caution, Warns Mississippi Qui Tam Lawyer

Some of the most famous whistleblowers have changed the course of history by bringing down powerful political figures, exposing violations of human rights and sending corporations into bankruptcy. While most whistleblowers do not become household names, there are often violations of ethics and laws that would go unchecked and unpunished if not for people willing to risk themselves to stop a wrongful practice from continuing.

Without whistleblowers, corporations could violate safety and environmental regulations, and defraud customers, and governments could violate people’s rights and cheat our democracy. The importance of whistleblowers is recognized by many laws and statutes that are designed to protect whistleblowers from workplace retaliation. Without protections, many people would be reluctant to expose their employers because they would fear losing their job, being demoted or not being promoted when they deserved to be.

Even though whistleblowers are protected, it is possible that a potential whistleblower could go about attempting to expose his or her employer in a way that would be a legal violation in and of itself. It is important that whistleblowers speak out, but they should do so in ways that protect themselves.

Evidence

If you believe you are in the position to be a whistleblower, you probably have some evidence of wrongdoing. Perhaps you have emails or other documentation of the things that you believe amount to a violation. On the other hand, you might wish to find more evidence to support your case before you come forward. In attempting to collect evidence of your employer’s violations, you could end up breaking the law yourself. If you video, record, or photograph co-workers without their knowledge, this could get you into trouble in some instances. Additionally, if you signed a confidentiality agreement with your employer, you should be careful that you are not violating that agreement before you have done everything to protect yourself. At the same time, you could find yourself in trouble for partaking in the illegal actions of your employer, even if you are only doing so in order to get more evidence.

Your best bet is to speak with a whistleblower attorney in order to determine whether you should seek more evidence, and what actions you can and cannot take in order to collect more evidence.

Loose lips

Another way you can find yourself in trouble is by speaking casually to friends or colleagues about the violations that are occurring. In these cases, you run the risk of having your intentions exposed to your employer and potentially having some of the evidence disappear before the wrongdoers are caught. It is also possible that someone might decide to expose the violation before you, putting your whistleblower protections at risk. There are also some claims that offer a whistleblower a reward for coming forward. This could entice someone to speak out especially if they believe that you are going to anyway.

If you believe you have witnessed violations of the law that need to be exposed, you should reach out to an experienced whistleblower attorney in order to determine the best and safest course of action for you to take.   Contact the seasoned Mississippi Qui Tam Lawyer at Barrett Law PLLC now at (800) 707-9577 to learn more about your legal options.

Whistleblowing in Medicare Fraud Cases

Thursday, August 31st, 2017

When an employee reports the illegal conduct of their employer, they become a whistleblower. Whistleblowers have exposed corporate practices that were not only unethical but actually, put people’s lives at risk. Even when a company is committing acts that are clearly wrongful, employees who discover that their employers are committing crimes are faced with difficult decisions. One issue they likely face is the possibility of suffering from retaliation, such as being terminated, if they decide to expose the illegal conduct.

However, it is often the case that only an employee would be in the position to learn the information necessary to report their employer’s wrongful actions. Whistleblower protection laws help to encourage people to speak up when employers commit illegal acts and to discourage employers from retaliating against employees who choose to do the right thing. One area where whistleblowers are extremely important is in the healthcare industry, where programs such as Medicare are frequently defrauded.

Medicare fraud

Medical facilities such as hospitals and nursing homes sometimes overbill Medicare. As it turns out, Medicare fraud accounts for around 10% of the total payments made by Medicare. In dollars, this means that the Medicare program if fraudulently billed tens of billions of dollars a year.

Medicare fraud often includes scenarios where medical facilities bill for services or equipment that they did not provide, or bill for a more expensive treatment than was actually given to the patient. There are some situations where patients covered by Medicare take part in the fraudulent acts, permitting the provider to use their Medicare number to bill for procedures or services that they did not actually require.

Because Medicare is designed to pay doctors quickly and therefore encourage them to see patients who are on Medicare, the program automatically pays out for claims that are filed, making fraud detection difficult. This has made Medicare particularly vulnerable to fraud.

The staggering costs that result from Medicare fraud are highly disturbing. But fortunately, some employees of medical facilities make the brave decision to speak out thereby exposing their employers’ illegal actions.

What protections exist for an employee who reports Medicare fraud?

In many cases, healthcare providers and other people working for medical facilities are the people best positioned to discover fraudulent billing practices. Of course, these people’s jobs might be threatened by their willingness to come forward and report the fraud.

In order to discourage Medicare fraud, perpetrators are subjected to heavy fines for their actions. Whistleblowers are awarded a portion of the fine paid by the violating facility, as well as a portion of the money recovered. This can lead to high reward payouts to whistleblowers. Additionally, though, retaliation against a whistleblower in a Medicare fraud claim is prohibited by law.

If you believe that your employer is committing Medicare fraud, you should speak with an experienced attorney. In some cases, it is possible to receive an award and have your job protected when you decide to do the right thing and report Medicare fraud.   For further information, contact the seasoned Mississippi Qui Tam Attorney at Barrett Law, PLLC today.

 

How are Whistleblowers Protected Under the Law?

Friday, August 25th, 2017

Whether a company is illegally dumping toxic substances into the waterways, or a hospital is billing Medicare for services that were never provided, wrongdoings by corporations and other entities can have far-reaching consequences. Oftentimes, the only way that violations are exposed is through people who work for the company that is committing the wrongful acts. This can be a complicated situation though, since the people who must come forward are typically employees of the wrongdoing companies. The decision to report an employer’s criminal actions can be frightening when a person believes that doing the right thing could cause them to lose their job.

Fortunately, there are several laws that protect whistleblowers from retaliation. In some cases, whistleblowers are not only protected, but can actually be rewarded for their brave decision to come forward. Determining which laws apply in which circumstances can be difficult though, so if you find yourself in the position of reporting your employer’s illegal conduct, speak with an employment law attorney to learn your rights and what sort of protections that law provides for you.

State laws

Most states have enacted some form of whistleblower protection. In Mississippi, the whistleblower protection law only applies to public employees. This law makes it illegal to retaliate against an employee if that employee provides information regarding an agency’s violation, or testifies to an investigative body about a violation. If an employee is terminated because of their role in an investigation, then that employee can file a civil lawsuit and be reinstated in their position, and get back pay that was lost.

Federal Statutes that contain whistleblower protection provisions

While Mississippi’s state law does nothing to protect whistleblowers employed by private corporations, there are federal laws that apply in many circumstances. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) oversees twenty-two statutes that contain whistleblower protections provisions. This means that an employee who reports that their employer is violating one of these statutes will be protected from retaliation from their employer. The statutes overseen by OSHA include laws intended to protect the environment and nuclear safety, such as the Clean Air Act, and the Safe Drinking Water Act, laws impact in the transportation industry, like the Federal Railroad Safety Act, and laws designed to protect consumers and investors, such as the Sarbanes-Oxley Act and the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act.

Each of these laws includes a provision stating that employees who report that their employer was in violation of the statute are protected from termination or other retaliatory acts. There are various time limits in place in the statutes that determine how long an employee has to file a claim that their employer retaliated against them.

The Whistleblower Protection Act protects federal employees from retaliation if they report a violation of a statute, rule or regulation, a gross waste of funds, gross mismanagement, the abuse of authority, or a “substantial and specific danger to public health or safety.”

The False Claims Act contains a robust whistleblower protection provision. This law protects whistleblowers who report fraudulent acts that are committed against the federal government. This can include reporting the use of false claims to obtain payment from the government, fraudulent actions taken to avoid or reduce payments owed to the federal government.

Given the complexity of whistleblower protections laws, it is important to consult with an experienced employment law attorney in order to protect yourself and your rights.  Contact the seasoned Mississippi Whistleblower Protection Attorney at Barrett Law, PLLC today by calling (800) 707-9577 or visiting us online.

Whistleblowing: Reporting Employer Wrongdoing

Friday, August 18th, 2017

Deciding to report a wrongdoing committed by your employer can be intimidating. Many employees fear what will happen to them if they speak out, exposing the wrongful or illegal actions that are being taken by their coworkers, supervisors, and other personnel. Of course, if employees fear retaliation from their employers, they will be less likely to take the steps necessary to end the wrongful acts, or to report the employer to the entities that can hold the violating persons accountable.

In order to prevent a culture of silence, most states have some form of whistleblower protection law. These laws make it illegal for employers to take negative actions against an employee for reporting some violation of law or ethics that was committed by the employer.

Who is covered by Mississippi’s whistleblower laws?

Mississippi has a statute that prevents public employees from being retaliated against when they file a complaint with the state or participate in a public investigation of their employer. The law also provides protection for employees if they report or testify in a proceeding related to the Mississippi Vulnerable Adults Act (MVAA).

What if I am not a public employee?

Mississippi’s statute is limited in scope to public employees and violations of the MVAA. However, an employee of a private company might be protected in other ways. Under the common law of Mississippi, it is unlawful to discharge an employee for reasons that violate public policy. As a result, it is illegal to terminate employees for retaliatory reasons if the employee refused to take part in illegal activities on behalf of the employer, or if the employee reported the criminal acts of the employer.

There are also federal laws that provide protection in some situations. For example, under the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002, it is illegal to retaliate against a whistleblower in cases involving securities or shareholder fraud. Employees of private companies are also shielded from retaliation for exposing their companies for defrauding the government.

When should I report my employer?

If you believe you have witnessed your employer engaging in illegal activities, or violating a company policy, you should first try to understand whether you might have misunderstood what you heard or witnessed. For instance, if your boss told you to do something that you know would be a violation, be sure that you correctly understood what you were told to do. If you believe that the orders were very clear, and definitely would constitute a violation, you may still want to question your boss or politely point out the violation that you would be committing. In some scenarios, it is possible that your boss simply did not realize that the act that they instructed you to take was not permitted.

If you are sure that you were intentionally told to do something unethical or illegal and do not believe there would be any point in discussing the situation with your boss, consider speaking with someone above your boss, or someone whose role at the company involves ethics regulations. This will likely not be appreciated by your boss, so it is good to be fairly sure that you have ruled out a misunderstanding before this point.

Reporting an employer’s legal violation can be intimidating and unnerving. If you find yourself in this position, it is a good idea to speak to an experienced employment law attorney in order to understand your rights and learn what sorts of legal protections would apply in your case.  For further information, contact the seasoned Mississippi Whistleblower Protection Attorney today at Barrett Law, PLLC.

 

Mississippi Whistleblower Attorney Says Employer Conduct Can be Confusing

Sunday, July 30th, 2017

When you are a whistleblower, and you expose your employer for placing you in a position that you are not qualified for, it would make sense if your employer wanted to find you a different position. However, what would you think if your employer placed you in a different position for which you were just as unqualified as you were for the first job that they gave you? That certainly would be confusing, yet this appears to be what happened to a whistleblower who revealed that he didn’t meet the standards outlined in Navy regulations for the position that his manager placed him in at an aircraft maintenance facility.

When the man worked at the Fleet Readiness Center (FRC-East), his job was to administratively release aircraft for flight and make sure that all required inspections and maintenance got completed. When he made it known to the public that he was expected to do work that, according to Navy regulations, he was unqualified to do, he experienced difficulty and reprisal. The man worked with his attorney to pursue legal action intended to mitigate threats of future reprisals, and his employer offered him a new aeronautical engineering technician position. The man took the job and hoped that his concerns would fade into the background as he started in his new role as a metrology-engineering technician.

Unfortunately, the man found out that he is just as unqualified for his new position as he was for his previous position. The work of a metrology-engineering technician involves calibrating highly technical equipment, and he falls short of the standards outlined in Navy regulations for qualifications for that job. For example, he should hold a Bachelor of Science degree in engineering or physical science. He should also have completed a four-year metrology calibration apprentice training program, or he should have the equivalent skills that those programs would provide. In addition to those things, he should have four years of experience and extensive knowledge of the aircraft and their various systems as well as the methods for calibrating those systems, among other things. Just reading the list of qualifications for that position is enough to make a non-technical person’s head spin, and even for someone who has an engineering background, it is an intimidating list. However, when you consider the nature of what the person who does that job is doing, calibrating highly sensitive and very technical equipment on military aircraft, it is easy to see just how little room for error is in the work that the metrology-engineering technician performs. Simply stated, it is a violation of Navy regulations to employ that man in the position of a metrology-engineering technician. He does not have the educational background, training, or experience to meet the requirements outlined in the regulations.

Barrett Law PLLC:  Providing Support for Mississippi Whistleblowers

Whistleblowers can experience retaliation in a variety of ways, including reassignment to less desirable or otherwise inappropriate work. This type of retaliation is subtler than some of the other forms of retaliation, so many people might not even realize that it is happening. To learn more about whistleblower protection claims, call the Mississippi Whistleblower Attorneys at Barrett Law PLLC today at 1 (800) 707-9577 for an initial consultation.