The attorneys at Tully Rinckey PLLC have extensive experience representing whistleblowers subject to retaliation, including several high-profile cases. Understanding that you likely had the best of intentions in disclosing the wrongdoing you saw, we take a personal interest in your case and fight aggressively for your rights.
At some point in your federal career, you may witness something you believe should not be happening – an illegal act, a gross waste of funds, an abuse of authority by a supervisor or another employee. While you’re encouraged to disclose such wrongdoing, and the Whistleblower Protection Act gives you the authority to do so without retribution, you may nevertheless face some form of retaliation, such as a change in your duties, denial of a promotion, unsupported disciplinary actions, or even firing.
Our attorneys are available to advise you regarding every stage of the whistleblowing process, including:
If you’re a federal contractor, our attorneys can advise you regarding your rights under a variety of federal statutes which provide remedies for whistleblower reprisal. These statutes include protection for Department of Defense contractors, as well as those working on contracts established through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.
Whether you’re a federal employee or a contractor, our attorneys can help you realize specific remedies to your claim, including:
Relying on decades of experience representing whistleblowers, the attorneys at Tully Rinckey provide experienced legal counsel for anyone who calls attention to illegal or inappropriate activity. We make sure your rights are protected and advocate on your behalf for any damages you may have suffered. We’re ready to represent you today.
Have questions? Visit our Whistleblower Representation FAQ to learn more.
The Act prohibits federal employees from taking or threatening to take a personnel action against an employee because of their protected disclosures. A protected disclosure is information that you reasonably believe to be evidence of a violation of law, rule or regulation or gross waste of government funds, gross mismanagement, an abuse of authority or a substantial and specific threat to public health or safety. Personnel actions are things such as disciplinary actions, denials of promotion, negative performance appraisals, a detail or reassignment and termination.
NOTE: Employees of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Government Accounting Office, Central Intelligence Agency and many other foreign intelligence or counterintelligence agencies are not covered by the Act.
You must prove that you made a protected disclosure and that as a result of that protected disclosure an agency official took an adverse action against you. Usually you will need to show that the agency official who took the adverse action against you had knowledge of the protected disclosure. You must also show a connection or nexus between the protected disclosure and the personnel action taken against you.
The Office of Special Counsel (OSC) will investigate your claim. If they believe it has merit, OSC will request that the agency take corrective action or request that the Merit Systems Protection Board order corrective action. If OSC determines that you do not have a claim, terminates their investigation without action, you may then file what is known as an Individual Right of Action (IRA) appeal with the MSPB. You have 65 days from the date you are notified by OSC that they are closing your claim to file with MSPB. Alternatively, if OSC fails to take any action on your complaint within 120 days after the filing of your complaint, you may also file an IRA appeal with the MSPB. These time frames are strictly enforced. Once at the MSPB, the normal Board processing procedures apply.
Violations of the Act can result in disciplinary action taken against federal officials who have engaged in of whistleblower reprisal. Employees subjected to reprisal for making protected disclosures can recover back pay, reversal of any personnel actions taken against the employee, consequential damages (i.e. medical expenses, travel) and attorney fees. Compensatory damages are not available.
If you are a federal employee facing wrongful termination, demotion, or other adverse action as a result of your disclosures, contact Tully Rinckey to see how our experienced federal employment and whistleblower attorneys may assist you.
Our offices can be reached 24 hours a day, 7 days a week at 202-787-1900 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The purpose of the Qui Tam law is to encourage those with knowledge of fraud against the government to become whistleblowers and report the misuse of public funds by companies and individuals such as pharmaceutical companies, military contractors, hospitals and doctors. In exchange for reporting fraud and because of the risks and work involved in bringing Qui Tam action, the whistleblower can receive up to 30 percent of any recovery the government receives following a trial or settlement.
Qui Tam is the abbreviation of a Latin term meaning “he who sues in this matter for the king as well as for himself.” Thus, suits are filed by the individual on behalf of the government in an attempt to recover misused funds even if the individual has not been affected by the fraud. In such cases the whistleblower is referred to as the “relater” because he or she “relates” information regarding fraud against the government.
The whistleblower in a Qui Tam action is typically someone with access to financial information who can prove the defendant intentionally deceived the government in order to receive more money than it was owed or to pay out less money than it owed. The most common Qui Tam cases involve fraud against government health care programs – billing Medicaid and Medicare for services not performed, equipment never purchased, etc.
Qui Tam action is typically brought in relation to the following sectors:
Qui Tam cases are brought under the various state and federal False Claims Acts. The individual bringing the suit generally receives 15-25 percent of the recovery if the government joins the action and closer to 30 percent if the government decides against joining the suit. There are also provisions in the False Claims Acts that allow individuals to recover expenses and attorney fees.
Only one individual is permitted to file a lawsuit for a particular allegation of fraud. If an individual makes the information public but does so without filing suit, another individual can do so and prevent the initial whistleblower from receiving a share of the recovery. This requirement was included in the False Claims Act to ensure only one individual capitalizes on the financial incentive of bringing a Qui Tam action.
Employers are not permitted to retaliate in any way against an employee who reports fraud. It is in violation the False Claims Act to fire, demote or deny benefits to a whistleblower. Doing so can result in a retaliation suit as part of the Qui Tam suit. If it is found that retaliation did occur, the employee can be reinstated and receive back pay, additional pay and have litigation and attorney fees paid.
Whistleblowers provide an important public service in uncovering and reporting fraud against the government because, ultimately, taxpayers are the ones who absorb the cost of fraudulent claims. While bringing allegations of fraud against a billion-dollar corporation can be intimidating, it can also be worthwhile since the result can save taxpayers billions. The government has recovered more than $17 billion from Qui Tam actions and associated whistleblowers have been awarded more than $3 billion.
Recently, a former quality assurance manager at pharmaceutical giant received $96 million of a $750 million settlement paid by the company for allegedly submitting false claims regarding drug safety. The company allegedly sold contaminated baby ointment, non sterile anti-nausea medication for cancer patients, anti-depressant tablets that lacked the effective ingredient, and super-potent and sub-potent diabetes tablets.
The settlement, which represents the largest Qui Tam settlement in history, shows the important role whistleblowers can play in assisting the public from financial and health standpoints – not to mention the potential monetary incentive for doing so.
Our experienced attorneys have the capabilities and knowledge to assist whistleblowers before and during Qui Tam action as well as during any related retaliation suit. We’re committed to protecting individuals and government agencies from various kinds of corporate fraud and will work with whistleblowers to achieve long-term goals and put an end to fraudulent practices.
When you choose Tully Rinckey PLLC, you aren’t just assigned an attorney. Your legal matter will be cared for by our entire legal team and support staff. With offices throughout the country, coast to coast, we make sure you receive legal counsel and representation you can trust. A number of the partners in our firm have earned the highest possible ratings for their exceptional legal ability and high ethical standards, including the AV Preeminent peer review rating from Martindale-Hubbell and top ratings from Avvo, Best Lawyers, and Super Lawyers.
Our team-oriented philosophy encourages open and ongoing communication with every attorney, paralegal, and other support staff working with each client ensures we understand their goals. Our commitment to you means meeting your objectives, working attentively and persistently toward your success, and efficiently adjusting to your changing needs.
Our client-centered process is all about communication. During consultations, we teach clients about legal challenges they face and explain options available from their current position. Our attorneys explain how we resolve legal issues for the best possible outcome. We define what the expectations are, create manageable deadlines, and discover evidence to support claims.
Tully Rinckey PLLC is a Service-Disabled Veteran-Owned law firm founded by military veterans Mathew B. Tully and Greg T. Rinckey, and now employs attorneys who are veterans of the Armed Forces. The military ranks and roles of our attorneys range from a Brigadier General, former Judge Advocates of all Officer ranks, and attorneys who have served as enlisted and Non-Commissioned Officers. The principles of the U.S. military carry over into how we operate our firm. These include leadership, character, technical and tactical proficiency, strong communication skills, seeking and taking responsibility, understanding assignments, choosing the right people for the job, and teamwork.
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