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Congress Introduces Bill to Expand Whistleblower Protections

Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for above-the-bar-logo.jpgRepresentatives Jackie Speier and Todd Platts recently introduced a bipartisan bill (H.R. 6406) called the Non-Federal Employees Whistleblower Protection Act (“Bill”) which would provide whistleblower protection to non-federal government contractors and subcontractors who disclose information about the federal funds being misused. If you are aware of fraud being committed against the government, call our Whistleblower Attorneys to help you determine your best course of action.

The Bill would protect employees who blow the whistle on companies that receive federal agency funding from retaliation for opposing the improper use of federal funds. The Bill would also make it illegal to retaliate against an employee who disclosed information that he or she reasonably believes is evidence of gross mismanagement or waste of covered funds, a substantial and specific danger to public health or safety related to the use of government funds, abuse of authority related to the implementation of the covered funds, or a violation of law related to an agency contract, subcontract, or grant related to the covered funds.

An employee seeking protection under the Bill would have to show that he or she was retaliated against and that his or her whistleblowing activity was a contributing factor to the retaliation. The Bill gives an employer the opportunity to come up with clear and convincing evidence that he or she would have taken the same action even if the employee had not blown the whistle. Where an employer is found to have violated the Bill, he or she could be ordered to take steps to remedy his or her retaliatory actions, reinstate the employee with backpay and compensatory damages, reimburse the employee for costs and expenses as well as attorneys’ fees, post notice of the inspector general’s decision, and put in place a compliance program to prevent future instances of retaliation. An employer can even be ordered to pay the employee up to 10 times the amount of his or her lost wages as well as compensatory damages if he or she is found to have engaged in willful, wanton, or malicious acts of retaliation.

If passed, the Non-Federal Employees Whistleblower Protection Act could potentially save taxpayers billions of dollars. The final report by the Commission on Wartime Contracting estimated that at least $31 billion, and possible as much as $60 billion was lost to waste and fraud related to contracting in Iraq and Afghanistan. Keep in mind that fraud against the government or waste or misuse of government monies results in a loss of taxpayers’ monies.

If you are in a position to expose fraudulent conduct, don’t sit by and let your taxpayer dollars go to waste. Call our Whistleblower Attorneys at Villanueva & Sanchala at (800) 893-9645 to help you figure out the best way to report and correct any wrongdoing

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