Our Charleston Whistleblower Protection Lawyers Can Help
South Carolinians who speak up and tell the government about fraud or corruption within a government program, agency, or a company with government involvement are protected by federal and South Carolina law.
At the Hopkin’s Law Firm, our experienced whistleblower protection and employment lawyers provide our clients with legal advice and representation to whistleblowers who want to bring forward fraud cases on behalf of the government in what is known as a qui tam case.
However, many times an employee who decides to be a whistleblower, may face retaliation from they South Carolina employer because they chose to do the right thing.
WHAT IS A WHISTLEBLOWER ACTION?
If you believe that your company may be guilty of fraud, defrauding federal and/or state government agencies, maintaining an unsafe work environment, or is violating environmental regulations and choose to take action, you would be a whistleblower.
South Carolina and federal law does encourage you to take action and affords you some level of employee protection.
South Carolina has a whistleblower statute that provides you as an employee of a state government agency, financial incentives for reporting such acts as abusive policies, fraud, or other violations of state and/or federal law. ‘
WHO IS ELIGIBLE TO BRING A WHISTLEBLOWER OR QUI TAM ACTION IN SOUTH CAROLINA?
In South Carolina, there are many different parties that may be able to file a whistleblower action against an employer. They include:
- Current Employee
- Federal Employee
- Former Employee
It’s important to note that you don’t have to have suffered any personal harm in order to file a qui tam /whistleblower matter.
WHISTLEBLOWER REMEDIES IN SOUTH CAROLINA
South Carolina’s whistleblower statute is clear in that if you, as a government employee reports in a proper manner your employer, and the state saves money because of it, you could receive monetary compensation of either $2000 or up to 25% of the estimated savings by the state during the first year after your report is filed.
Additionally, South Carolina law provides any employee who reports wrongdoing protection against:
- Decreased in Compensation
You may also be entitled to:
- Be Reinstated to your Former Position
- Recover Lost Wages
- Receive up to $15,000 in Actual Damages
- Fees for Attorneys and Costs
WHAT ARE THE MOST COMMON WHISTLEBLOWER ACTIONS IN SOUTH CAROLINA?
The most common whistleblower actions in South Carolina include, but aren’t limited to:
- Defense Contractor Fraud
- Government Waste
- Medicare/Medicaid Fraud
- Other Types of Fraud
In order for you to bring a whistleblower/qui tam action under the law, you must have personal knowledge and real evidence of fraud. If your whistleblower claim is successful, you will receive monetary compensation.
EMPLOYEE WHISTLEBLOWER LAWSUITS IN SOUTH CAROLINA
In South Carolina, an employee who blows the whistle on your employer, is one of the most common type of whistleblower. In general, the employees who do file a qui tam action as repeatedly attempted to resolve the issues with their employer internally but have been met with bad results
However, if you choose to file a qui tam action, you are protected by law against job retaliation by your employer. Under the qui tam provision of the False Claims Act, you can file a claim on behalf of the government. The False Claims Act allows many different kinds of people and other entities file a qui tam action.
Additionally, employees who have a hard time bringing a whistleblower action against a current or former federal employer. Even though state and federal law doesn’t exclude any federal employees, the fact that they are hesitant to file a whistleblower action raises the following concerns:
Does the federal employee have a conflict of interest?
Do federal employees have an obligation to disclose fraud to the employer, rather than suing the employer?
The courts are split on whether a federal employee can bring a qui tam suit, but the fact that the Department of Justice frowns on federal employees filing a qui tam claim only adds to an already complicated problem.
Former Employees: are another common type of whistleblower who files an action against their former employer. Many of these people have direct knowledge of fraud within the company or agency of their former employer. In many cases, the employee was terminated or quit under stress because they were trying to resolve the issue within the company or agency.
Subcontractors and Competitors: This type of whistleblower is generally a competitor of the company being charged, or an employee of a competitor who has knowledge of the fraud that is being committed. Companies or people who subcontract with any government contractor can file a qui tam action against that contractor if they have direct knowledge that fraud is being committed.
HOW CAN A SOUTH CAROLINA WHISTLEBLOWER PROTECTION LAWYER HELP ME?
If you or a loved one has thought about filing a whistleblower claim against your employer for squandering government funds, you should have the guidance of an experienced South Carolina whistleblower protection attorney.
You may feel that you don’t need a South Carolina whistleblower protection lawyer on your side, but practically speaking, you absolutely should have an attorney on your side.
Due to the sheer volume of qui tam cases filed with the U.S. Justice Department, and the small amount of Justice Department attorneys working on them, only the cases that have strong evidence are likely to be joined by the U.S. government.
While this doesn’t preclude you from filing a whistleblower claim, it does emphasize the value of using an attorney from the very beginning to present the U.S. government with the strongest case as you can.
The knowledgeable whistleblower protection attorneys at the Hopkin’s Law Firm can help you with the prosecution and development of your case. Many whistleblower cases have been won and lost based on negotiations and talks with the government. We have the knowledge, experience, and resources to make sure your case runs smoothly and you receive a fair recovery.Schedule Your Free Consultation
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Don’t discuss your injury case with the other party or with the insurance company until you have a powerful legal advocate on your side. Call us at 843-894-2377 or reach us by email. Our team offers a free consultation and won’t charge attorneys’ fees unless we help you recover money in a settlement or trial.
We Are Here to Help
Contact Hopkins Law Firm, LLC, at 843-894-2377. If you would like more information about your specific case, you can meet with an attorney from our Charleston team. We will listen to your story, let you know what we can do, and how we can help. You may also email us with a detailed description of your case and we will reach back out to you. We are your local attorneys and we are here to help.