Whistleblower Lawyers in Naperville and Chicago
Illinois employees have several laws to protect them if they are whistleblowers. In fact, Illinois’ own Honest Abe (Abraham Lincoln) passed a whistleblower type law because of dishonest Civil War suppliers who put sawdust in the gunpowder and then sold it to the Union Army. In Illinois, whistleblowers are protected by both federal and state, and local laws. So, while no one likes to be a whistleblower, Illinois is a good place to be one.
What Is a Whistleblower in Illinois?
If you blow the whistle (i.e., exposed employer’s wrongdoing or have knowledge of your company cheating the government or insurance companies), you may be entitled to money as a whistleblower. Examples of claims include improper billing, charging the government for services that were not provided, or misrepresenting things to the government to get money.
You can also review our comprehensive rundown of whistleblower laws that may be relevant to you.
The Whistleblower Protection Act (5 U.S.C. § 2302(b)(8))
The Whistleblower Protection Act (WPA) protects whistleblowers from retaliation at work for making disclosures. There are also penalties for supervisors that retaliate against employees who are whistleblowing.
False Claims "Qui Tam" Act
Sometimes referred to as “false claims” lawsuits, or qui tam claims, these claims allow a whistleblower to recover money if his or her employer is getting money unfairly. An example of false claims is Medicare fraud. Sometimes employers will bill Medicare or Medicaid or insurance companies for services that were not performed or that were unnecessary. This is illegal.
Specific types of whistleblowers include:
- IRS Whistleblowers: If you have information that a taxpayer is cheating the government, you might be entitled to a portion of any recovery by the IRS. There are specific ways you must report a tax fraud to the IRS.
- SEC Whistleblowers: The SEC has a whistleblower program for certain financial frauds.
- Medicare Whistleblowers and Healthcare Fraud: Medical practices sometimes get into trouble for up-coding, paying incentives for referrals, and not following CMS rules. Under the False Claims Act, a whistleblower can recover between 15 and 30 percent of the government’s recovery.
- Illinois Whistleblowers: While many whistleblower claims are brought under federal law, Illinois has its own set of laws to protect whistleblowers. It also has a unique law that allows a recovery for insurance fraud.
- Laboratory and COVID-19 Whistleblowers: The Covid-19 Pandemic has resulted in a great deal of fraud. To learn more about whistleblower fraud by laboratories, click here.
Contact our Naperville & Chicago whistleblower attorney at (312) 818-2407 by completing our online form. Don't wait, get in touch today.
Can My Employer Fire Me after I Filed for Workers’ Compensation?
It is illegal to retaliate against an employee for filing a workers’ compensation claim in Illinois. Our Chicago & Naperville lawyers can also assist if you have a workers compensation claim and were retaliated against for your work injury. Injured workers in Illinois often have legal rights. Depending on the nature of the injury, it may be illegal for an employer to retaliate or terminate an injured worker or someone who files for workers compensation.
Attorney David Fish was interviewed about Qui Tam and False Claims Act cases involving Medicare, laboratories, doctors, and nursing homes. Listen to the postcast: Employee to Lawyer Podcast | An Employment Law Podcast By NELA Illinois - PodRiver
How Do You Protect Yourself as a Whistleblower?
As a relatively high-tech firm, and because we find employment law fun, we asked ChatGPT how to protect whistleblowers in Illinois. It gave us some good advice:
Whistleblowing in Illinois: Protecting Employees Who Speak Out Against Illegal or Unethical Practices
Whistleblowing, or reporting illegal or unethical practices in the workplace, is an important form of civic engagement. In Illinois, the state has several laws in place to protect whistleblowers and ensure that they are not subjected to retaliation for speaking out. In this blog post, we'll explore the legal protections available to whistleblowers in Illinois and what employees need to know if they decide to speak out.
The Illinois Whistleblower Act
The Illinois Whistleblower Act is a state law that provides protection to employees who report illegal or unethical practices in the workplace. The Act prohibits employers from retaliating against employees who report such practices, including termination, demotion, harassment, and other forms of retaliation. The Act applies to all employees, regardless of their job title or position within the company.
If an employee believes they have been subjected to retaliation for reporting illegal or unethical practices, they can file a complaint with the Illinois Department of Labor. The Department will then investigate the complaint and determine whether the employer has violated the Illinois Whistleblower Act. If the employer is found to have violated the Act, they may be required to pay damages to the employee and to cease the retaliation.
What Constitutes Whistleblowing in Illinois
In Illinois, employees can report a wide range of illegal or unethical practices, including fraud, waste, abuse, and safety violations. Employees can also report practices that violate state or federal laws, such as environmental regulations, labor laws, and health and safety regulations.
Employees who report such practices must do so in good faith, meaning that they must have a reasonable belief that the practices are illegal or unethical. Employees who make false reports or who report practices with the intention of causing harm can be held liable for their actions.
Protecting Your Job and Your Reputation
Whistleblowing can be a difficult and challenging process, but it is important for employees to understand that they have legal protections in place. If you are considering reporting illegal or unethical practices in the workplace, it is important to take steps to protect yourself and your job.
Here are a few tips for whistleblowers in Illinois:
- Gather evidence: Before reporting any illegal or unethical practices, gather evidence to support your claims. This may include emails, memos, or other documents that demonstrate the practices in question.
- Know your rights: Familiarize yourself with the Illinois Whistleblower Act and other laws that protect whistleblowers in Illinois. This will help you understand your rights and what you can do if you are subjected to retaliation.
- Seek legal counsel: Consider speaking with a lawyer before reporting any practices. A lawyer can help you understand your rights and provide guidance on the best course of action.
- Report the practices: Report the practices to the appropriate authorities, such as the Illinois Department of Labor or another regulatory agency.
Whistleblowing is an important way to hold companies and organizations accountable and to protect the public. By understanding the legal protections available to whistleblowers in Illinois, employees can make informed decisions about whether to speak out and can take steps to protect themselves and their careers.
For information unique to your situation, contact us at (312) 818-2407 or by completing our online form. Don't wait, get in touch with a Naperville & Chicago whistleblower attorney today.