The attorneys of John R. Foley, P.C. provide representation both to companies looking to put in a place a strong protocol for dealing legally and ethically with whistleblowers and to individual whistleblowers who either need representation or want the best possible chance of their complaint being followed upon by the United States Securities & Exchange Commission.
Who is a Whistleblower?
Anyone who reports the unlawful actions of a company to the relevant authorities is known as a whistleblower or a ‘relator’. Whistleblowers who are employed by the company report to the authorities risk retaliation including even the loss of their employment. The employer retaliation can also be in the form of demotion, suspension, denial of benefits or pay, or any other threat.
Types of Misconduct to Report
Almost anyone can be a whistleblower if they know of violations of the securities laws. You do not have to be employed by the company that is violating the laws to report them. Whistleblowers do not need to be U.S. citizens.
Many violations of the securities laws involve improper accounting and misleading statements in company disclosures. But violations cover a broad range of activity including graft and corruption.
Damages for Whistleblowing Claims
The compensation you collect after winning a whistleblowing case depends on how strong the claim was as well as the basis of the claim. Most of the time, whistleblowers ask for the following after winning the suit.
Back pay: Also known as lost wages, this is the pay and benefits the whistleblower missed after wrongful dismissal from work.
Out-of-pocket losses: You incur these costs because of losing your job. They include the costs of looking for new employment, as well as the court costs and fees paid to the attorneys.
Front pay: Also known as reinstatement. Front payment is whereby you ask the court to either give you back your job or pay for the wages you will lose until you find new employment.
Punitive damages: These are damages meant to punish the employer for their wrong.
Pain and suffering damages: At times, the court can award the whistleblower damages to cover for the suffering they endured in the course of the case. The pain and suffering may be emotional, physical or both.
Fee: In some cases, the whistleblower can receive a special payment or bounty as an appreciation for protecting the public from harm. The fee might be a certain percentage of the entire sanction or any amount calculated by the court or the statute. Our attorneys will explain everything to you, including the amount of money to expect to win in your case.
Whistleblower Attorney Fees
If you win a whistleblower case, you do not have to pay for the attorney fees as the whistleblower laws cater to them. For instance, the False Claim Act offers reasonable fees for the whistleblower’s lawyers as well as any costs incurred throughout the case. This is in addition to the compensation as stipulated in the judgment.
However, in case the case settles instead of going through litigation, you do not have to worry as most attorneys handle cases on a contingency basis. The contingency basis means that the attorneys will cater to any costs in the course of the case, and once you win the case, you pay back the costs as well as the fees. The whistleblower agrees to pay a certain percentage of their award if they win the case. In case they do not win, they do not pay.
Depending on the circumstances of the claim, the percentage to be deducted from the award varies. However, in most cases, the whistleblower pays the attorneys 35% to 40% of their entire award.
Following a law that was espoused by Congress in 2018, the attorney’s fees in whistleblower cases ended up exempted from tax. The law stipulates that the fee, which is deducted from the relator’s reward, is derived from the taxes which the whistleblower owes on the award.
Thanks to the Bipartisan Act of the year 2018, whistleblower awards are regarded as deductions above the line. This means that there are no taxes on the attorney’s fees. With our dedicated team of lawyers, you can be sure to get the highest reward for your whistleblower case. Our team of highly professional lawyers has the necessary experience to ensure you get the most out of your claim.
As you prepare to make your disclosure, keep in mind the provisions that relate to confidentiality. This will help you prevent a counter lawsuit from your employer. Your employer may sue you for the disclosure of their confidential information so tread carefully. If you doubt, reach out to us and have our attorneys offer you corporate and business advice. We have experience in dealing with whistleblower cases so you can rest assured that you are in safe hands.
Whistleblower Protection & Anonymity
Blowing the whistle on any illegal activity is for the benefit of the whole society. Numerous state and federal laws protect the whistleblowers and their valuable contribution to society.
One of the strongest protections for whistleblowers, however, is anonymity. The SEC Whistleblower anonymity rules are extremely strict and provide excellent protection for whistleblowers who do not want their employer—or even the SEC—to know who they are. Hiring an experienced SEC Whistleblower attorney is the best way for a whistleblower to take advantage of the SEC’s anonymity protections. The attorney interacts with the agency on the whistleblower’s behalf and adds an extra layer of protection for the whistleblower.
Whistleblowers’ Protection Act (WPA) and Protection Enhancement Act (WPEA)
In addition to the SEC’s rules, the Whistleblowers’ Protection Act (WPA) and Whistleblower Protection Enhancement Act (WPEA) protect whistleblowers against any form of retaliation from their employer. These acts also protect employees who testify against their employer in a court of law.
The WPA was passed by Congress in 1989 and strengthened in 2012 by the WPEA to protect whistleblowers, prevent reprisals and to curb wrongdoing in the government corridors. The acts stipulate the procedure for reporting wrongdoing as well as workplace retaliation.
Opting to blow the whistle on a large, publicly-traded company can be a frightening and stressful decision—even more so if that company is also the whistleblower’s employer. The decision should not be undertaken lightly. John R. Foley, P.C. takes a thoughtful and holistic approach to represent whistleblowers with the dual goals of effectively bringing wrongdoing to the government’s attention while also staunchly protecting the whistleblower’s identity and interests.
Conversely, experience in representing whistleblowers translates into practical, substantive knowledge of how companies can improve their methods of dealing with whistleblowers—both before and after wrongdoing is reported to the government. Companies seeking to improve their compliance with SEC regulations or companies that have already found themselves dealing with whistleblowers can rely on John R. Foley, P.C. for timely and thoughtful legal counsel. The firm’s attorneys provide counsel on addressing wrongdoing with the SEC, if necessary, and how to work with internal whistleblowers in ways that both comply with SEC regulations and effectively resolve the whistleblower complaints.