Maloney O'Laughlin PLLC fights for employees throughout Washington, from Seattle to Spokane.

Maloney O'Laughlin PLLC fights for employees throughout Washington, from Seattle to Spokane.

Government contractor whistleblowing: Issues and protections

On Behalf of | Jun 24, 2024 | Whistleblower

Whistleblowing is a vital tool that many people use. It exposes fraud, abuse, and misconduct, especially in government contracts. Here’s what you need to know about government contractor whistleblowing.

Common issues in government contracting

Whistleblowers in the government contracting sector encounter various types of misconduct. 

These can include financial fraud, such as fraudulent billing, false claims, and misallocation of funds. Fraudulent billing is overcharging or billing for services not rendered. False claims are false statements issued to secure government funds. This often leads to misallocation of funds or the use of government funds for unauthorized purposes.

Whistleblowers may also experience quality issues. This happens when products or services don’t meet contractual requirements. Additionally, they may witness safety violations, wherein companies ignore safety protocols. This can endanger the public’s safety and the safety of workers.

Legal protections for whistleblowers

Several federal and state laws provide protections for whistleblowers:

  • False Claims Act (FCA): This federal law allows individuals to file a lawsuit if they have evidence of fraud against federal programs. The act includes provisions to protect whistleblowers from retaliation.
  • Whistleblower Protection Act (WPA): Protects federal employees who disclose evidence of illegality, abuse of authority, or a danger to public health or safety.
  • Dodd-Frank Act: This act protects whistleblowers who report securities violations. It also offers financial rewards for information that leads to enforcement actions.

State programs like the Washington Whistleblower Protection Program also protect whistleblowers. This program bars retaliation and establishes safeguards for victims of reprisal.

Reporting procedures

Whistleblowers should take steps to ensure that they protect themselves and their disclosures. These can include proper and thorough documentation of misconduct.

Whistleblowers are also encouraged to report internally. Speaking to the supervisor may prevent the issue as a way to avoid external intervention. If this does not work, or they face retaliation, they should file a complaint to an external agency. 

When in doubt, seek legal counsel. Speaking to a lawyer who knows whistleblower law can help you choose the best action and protect your disclosures.

Empowering ethical action

Whistleblowers should seek to understand the issues and protections they have. This understanding lets them take informed and protected actions against misconduct. The law is on your side. By taking the right steps, you can help ensure that justice is done while protecting your career and well-being.