Companies in Wisconsin and throughout the United States are not allowed to retaliate against those who act as whistleblowers. However, this doesn’t mean that a person who has spoken out about potentially illegal workplace conduct is necessarily immune from being retaliated against. Therefore, it is a good idea for those who plan on revealing what they know to have a plan in place prior to doing so. In some cases, it may be best to attempt to resolve the problem without submitting a qui tam claim.
This may be an especially good idea if the company is willing to hear an individual out and make a good faith effort to change its ways. However, individuals who are planning on filing a lawsuit are encouraged to do so as quickly as possible. Doing so may ensure that they are not terminated before a claim can be filed. Furthermore, the first person to take action is generally entitled to the largest share of any funds that are recovered based on a whistleblower’s information.
While being first may entitle a person to a larger payout, it is important to gather sufficient evidence of fraud or other illegal activity. In many cases, it can be a good idea for a whistleblower to find a new job prior to going public with a misconduct claim against a current employer.
Those who were demoted or had their pay reduced after revealing potentially damaging information about an organization could be victims of retaliation. Those who have been retaliated against may be entitled to compensation and other forms of relief. An attorney might use a plaintiff’s personnel file, witness statements or statements from managers as evidence to show that retaliation took place. Cases may be resolved through a negotiated settlement or after a formal trial.