Whistleblower Litigation and False Claims

Munro Byrd, P.C. – Virginia Trial Practice

Note: Effective July 1, 2020, Virginia has enacted a new Whistleblower Protection Law (Code § 40.1-27.3). This law significantly expands the rights and protections of employees who stand up to illegal activity, which previously was very limited. If you have suffered a retaliatory discipline or termination for reporting suspected violations to a supervisor or any governmental body, for refusing to engage in or support a criminal act, or engaging in other protected conduct, contact Munro Byrd Law to advise you on this law, and whether it applies to your situation.

If you are a dedicated and loyal employee or officer, you expect your employer to reward that. You expect integrity. You want your organization to do the right thing. But companies are only as honest as their people, and sometimes those people fail to follow the law. There are times when people at those companies cut corners or even lie, usually due to money. For this reason, there are state and federal laws in place to encourage and protect employees who have the courage to stand up to violations involving workplace safety, medical and government billing, environmental compliance, and internal accounting and securities information.

Each of these laws has distinct standards for what kind of employers are covered, and what is considered “protected activity” by an individual employee. Most of them cover an employee who reports this information (the “whistleblower”) to superiors or outside agencies, and some cover other types of informal acts opposing fraud or other violations. And many of them also protect employees who suffer retaliation—in the form of discipline, demotion, or termination—linked to that protected activity.

If you find yourself in a situation where you are witnessing activity you suspect to be illegal, whether you have already taken action to report it or not, you could qualify for this protection. In the cases of certain types of false claims or fraud, you could even be eligible for significant monetary rewards for reporting those illegal activities. Those rules are narrow and strict, and they do not cover everyone. You will need a lawyer familiar with that litigation to assess your potential claim.

Devon Munro has represented a number of individuals who are pursuing whistleblower claims, both confidentially and in court. He has advised and assisted numerous individuals facing retaliatory discharge under federal and state laws. He is familiar with and can advise you on the primary whistleblower protection schemes such as:

• U.S. False Claims Act (and state counterparts)
• Virginia’s new Whistleblower Protection Law (Code § 40.1-27.3)
• Whistleblower Protection Act of 1989
• Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002 and Dodd-Frank Act
• Virginia’s Fraud and Abuse Whistleblower Protection Act (2020), Code §§ 2.2-3009 et seq.
• Virginia OSHA and environmental regulation protections for whistleblowers

If you suspect you may have such a claim, call Munro Byrd, P.C. for a free consultation.

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