Both California and federal law provide extensive protection to whistleblowers, including the ability to report fraud or misconduct anonymously. Depending on the nature of whistleblowing and retaliation, an individual may be entitled to compensation or reward under various state and federal programs. We are well-equipped to represent employees or officers of both private and publicly traded companies who report wrongful conduct and face retaliation in response. Cross Prescott APC has a top-notch litigation practice, and our attorneys are well-versed in all major aspects of federal and state laws.
Types of Cases We Handle
We are able to represent clients in Southern and Northern California in many types of whistleblower and wrongful termination matters. We are committed to protecting and vindicating the rights of employees who confront fraud or malfeasance at their companies. We are well-situated to represent whistleblowers who report any of the following types of conduct and face retaliation in response:
- Improper accounting practices
- Improper revenue recognition
- False statements in public filings with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”)
- Tax fraud, mail fraud, wire fraud, or securities fraud
- General shareholder and financial fraud
- Military-contractor and defense-contractor fraud
Whistleblower Laws and Regulations
Both California and federal law provide extensive protection to whistleblowers, including the ability to report fraud or misconduct anonymously. In addition, whistleblowers at publicly traded companies further enjoy protection under the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002 (“SOX”), and, depending on the nature of their claim and information, may be able to file a claim either directly with the SEC or with the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Health and Safety Administration.
- The SEC has recently established a program, implemented under Section 922 of the Dodd-Frank Act, which is designed to reward individuals who act early to expose securities violations and who provide significant information that helps the SEC bring successful enforcement actions. For more information about this program, visit the SEC’s Office of the Whistleblower.
- The U.S. Department of Labor’s OSHA is the entity charged with enforcing the whistleblower protection provisions of 21 federal statutes, including the Occupational Safety and Health Act, SOX, CERCLA, the Consumer Protection Act of 2010, and the Federal Railroad Safety Act, among others. For more information about OSHA, visit its Whistleblower Protection Program.
- Department of Homeland Security has established the OIG Hotline for victims of whistleblower retaliation.
- Office of Special Counsel provides a helpful pamphlet on whistleblower retaliation and on prohibited personnel practices.
- The SEC recently released enforcement and whistleblower statistics, indicating a sharp increase in enforcement actions in recent years.
What Are My Rights as a Whistleblower?
Depending on the nature of whistleblowing and the retaliation, an individual may be entitled to compensation or reward under one of these programs. Under OSHA’s whistleblower protection program, if, after conducting an investigation, OSHA determines that there is evidence supporting an employee’s claims and a settlement cannot be reached, OSHA can issue an order requiring reinstatement, back pay, restoration of benefits, and possibly other relief, including compensation of special damages, attorneys’ fees, and certain costs.
If OSHA does not issue a final agency order within 180 days from the date the employee’s complaint is filed, the employee has the right to proceed with a lawsuit in the appropriate United States District Court. For more information, visit OSHA’s most recent Whistleblower Investigations Manual or contact one of our attorneys. If you need a whistleblower attorney in San Diego, Oceanside, Riverside, San Bernardino, or Imperial Counties or anywhere in California, we can help.