Virginia Lawyers Representing Whistleblowers in Whistleblower Rewards and Whistleblower Retaliation Claims
- Virginia Fraud Against Taxpayers Act;
- Sarbanes-Oxley Act;
- Virginia Whistleblower Protection Law;
- False Claims Act;
- NDAA Whistleblower Protection Law;
- SEC whistleblower-reward program;
- Defense Contractor Whistleblower Protection Act; and
- IRS tax fraud whistleblower-reward program.
Virginia Whistleblower Protection Law
As of July 1, 2020, whistleblowers in Virginia will be protected against retaliation under HB798. Virginia’s whistleblower protection law authorizes a whistleblower to bring a civil action seeking injunctive relief, reinstatement, and uncapped compensation for lost wages, benefits, and other remuneration.
The scope of prohibited retaliation under Virginia’s new whistleblower protection law is broad. It prohibits an employer from discharging, disciplining, threatening, discriminating against, or penalizing an employee, or taking other retaliatory action regarding an employee’s compensation, terms, conditions, location, or privileges of employment because of the employee’s protected conduct. Protected conduct includes:
- Reporting in good faith a violation of any federal or state law or regulation to a supervisor or to any governmental body or law enforcement official;
- Being requested by a governmental body or law enforcement official to participate in an investigation, hearing, or inquiry;
- Refusing to engage in a criminal act that would subject the employee to criminal liability;
- Refusing an employer’s order to perform an action that violates any federal or state law or regulation when the employee informs the employer that the order is being refused for that reason; or
- Providing information to or testifying before any governmental body or law enforcement official conducting an investigation, hearing, or inquiry into any alleged violation by the employer of federal or state law or regulation.
HB798 clarifies that it does not:
- Authorize an employee to make a disclosure of data otherwise protected by law or any legal privilege;
- Permit an employee to make statements or disclosures knowing that they are false or that they are in reckless disregard of the truth; or
- Permit disclosures that would violate federal or state law or diminish or impair the rights of any person to the continued protection of confidentiality of communications provided by common law.
There is no requirement to exhaust administrative remedies, i.e., an employee alleging retaliation can bring a civil action in a court of competent jurisdiction within one year of the prohibited retaliatory action without first filing a claim with an administrative body. A prevailing whistleblower can obtain the following relief:
- An injunction to restrain continued violation;
- Reinstatement to the same or an equivalent position held before the employer took the retaliatory action; and/or
- Compensation for lost wages, benefits, and other remuneration, together with interest, as well as reasonable attorneys’ fees and costs.
Whistleblower Protections for Virginia Employees of Federal Government Contractors
Our Virginia whistleblower lawyers represent employees of federal contractors and grantees that have suffered retaliation for opposing fraud on the government or raising concerns about:
- gross mismanagement of a Federal contract or grant;
- a gross waste of Federal funds;
- an abuse of authority relating to a Federal contract or grant; or
- a substantial and specific danger to public health or safety, or a violation of law, rule, or regulation related to a Federal contract.
To learn more about False Claims Act whistleblower protection, see our FCA whistleblower retaliation FAQ.
To learn more about remedies for whistleblowers at federal contractors or grantees, see our Practical Law Practice Note: Whistleblower Protections Under the National Defense Authorization Act.
Whistleblower Protection Lawyers Representing Virginia Employees
The attorneys at Zuckerman Law have extensive experience representing executives and senior professionals at Virginia companies in Sarbanes-Oxley whistleblower retaliation claims, including CEOs and CFOs. We have recovered more than fifteen million dollars for SOX whistleblowers.
Drawing on our substantial experience representing corporate whistleblowers in Virginia, we have published a free guide to SOX titled Sarbanes-Oxley Whistleblower Protection: Robust Protection for Corporate Whistleblowers.
The guide summarizes SOX whistleblower protections and offers concrete tips for Virginia corporate whistleblowers based on lessons learned during years of litigating SOX whistleblower cases.
Before hiring a lawyer for a high-stakes whistleblower case in Virginia, assess the lawyer’s reputation, prior experience representing whistleblowers, knowledge of whistleblower laws and prior results. And consider the experience of other whistleblowers working with that attorney. See our client testimonials by clicking here.
Recently some corporate whistleblowers have obtained significant recoveries in SOX whistleblower retaliation claims:
- Jury Awards Former Bio-Rad Counsel $11M in Sarbanes-Oxley Whistleblower Case
- Jury Awards Six Million Dollars to Whistleblower in Sarbanes-Oxley Case
- Sarbanes-Oxley Whistleblower Obtains $2.7M in Front Pay
Virginia Wrongful Termination Lawyers
Though Virginia is an “at-will employment” jurisdiction, Virginia recognizes an exception to the at-will employment doctrine for cases of wrongful termination in violation of public policy.
To establish a claim for wrongful termination in Virginia, a plaintiff must prove by a preponderance of the evidence that:
- The plaintiff was an at-will employee terminated by the defendant;
- The termination of the plaintiff’s employment violates a specific public policy; and
- There is a causal connection between the public policy violation and the employer’s decision to terminate the plaintiff.
Virginia law recognizes only three situations where public policy protects an employee:
- When an employer violated a policy enabling the exercise of an employee’s statutorily created right;
- When the public policy violated by the employer was explicitly expressed in the statute and the employee was clearly a member of that class of persons directly entitled to the protection enunciated by the public policy; or
- When the discharge was based on the employee’s refusal to engage in a criminal act. A claim under the third Bowman exception requires allegations that an employer “asked, or directed” an employee to engage in a criminal act, which could lead to the employee’s prosecution under Virginia law
In a Virginia wrongful termination action, it is critical for the plaintiff to identify with specificity the public policy that the employer violated by discharging the plaintiff. In a Virginia wrongful termination action, a plaintiff must identify a Virginia state statute that establishes the relevant public policy.
Virginia Whistleblower Damages
Virginia SOX Whistleblower Lawyers
We represent corporate whistleblowers in retaliation claims under the whistleblower protection provision of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act. This FAQ provides an overview of key aspects of SOX whistleblower protection.
- Who is protected under the whistleblower protection provision of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act?
- What whistleblowing disclosures are protected under the Sarbanes-Oxley Act?
- What are examples of SOX protected activity (protected whistleblowing)?
- Does the Sarbanes-Oxley Act protect whistleblowing about potential violations of federal securities laws?
- Are SOX whistleblowers required to show that their disclosures relate “definitively and specifically” to a federal securities law?
- Is an employee’s participation in an investigation of corporate fraud protected under the Sarbanes-Oxley Act?
- What are some types of proof to show that a disclosure is objectively reasonable?
- Is a whistleblower’s motive for engaging in protected activity relevant in a whistleblower protection case?
- Does Sarbanes-Oxley protected conduct require a showing of materiality?
- Is a Sarbanes-Oxley whistleblower required to prove fraud?
- Are disclosures made in the course of performing one’s job duties protected?
- Must a SOX whistleblower prove that the individual who made the final decision to take the adverse action has personal knowledge of the whistleblower’s protected activity?
- Does the Sarbanes-Oxley whistleblower law protect employees working outside the United States?
- What acts of retaliation are prohibited by the Sarbanes-Oxley whistleblower protection law?
- Is constructive discharge a prohibited act of retaliation under SOX?
- Does SOX prohibit employers from “outing” confidential whistleblowers?
- Is retaliation that occurred outside of the statute of limitations period relevant evidence of retaliation?
- Does subjecting an employee to heightened scrutiny evidence retaliation?
- Does SOX prohibit post-termination retaliation?
- What is preemptive retaliation?
- What is a whistleblower’s burden to prove retaliation under the Sarbanes-Oxley Act?
- How can a whistleblower prove retaliation?
- Must a whistleblower prove retaliatory motive in a DOL whistleblower retaliation case?
- Why should courts be skeptical of an adverse employment action taken based on subjective criteria?
- What are some methods to prove pretext in retaliation and discrimination cases?
- Does a SOX whistleblower need to prove that the employer’s reason for the adverse action is untrue?
- What is the employer’s burden in a Sarbanes-Oxley whistleblower retaliation case?
- Does subjecting an employee to heightened scrutiny evidence retaliation?
- What damages can a whistleblower recover under SOX?
- Does the Sarbanes-Oxley whistleblower protection law authorize emotional distress damages?
- What is front pay?
- Can OSHA order the reinstatement of a Sarbanes-Oxley whistleblower?
- If reinstatement is not feasible, can a judge award front pay in lieu of reinstatement?
- Does SOX authorize an award of punitive damages?
Virginia SEC Whistleblower Attorneys
The Virginia whistleblower lawyers at leading whistleblower law firm Zuckerman Law represent whistleblowers before the SEC disclosing fraud and other violations of federal securities laws, including:
- Accounting fraud;
- Investment and securities fraud;
- Insider trading;
- Foreign bribery and other FCPA violations;
- EB-5 investment fraud;
- Manipulation of a security’s price or volume;
- Fraudulent securities offerings and Ponzi schemes;
- Hedge fund fraud;
- Unregistered securities offerings;
- Investment adviser fraud;
- Broker-dealer anti-money laundering program violations;
- False or misleading statements about a company or investment;
- Inadequate internal controls;
- Deceptive non-GAAP financial measures; and
- Violations of auditor independence rules.
The SEC has jurisdiction over a wide range of industries and entities – both public and private. If you have information that may qualify for a SEC whistleblower reward, contact the experienced SEC whistleblower lawyers at Zuckerman Law for a free, confidential consultation.
Virginia Whistleblower Protection Act Lawyers
Whistleblower attorneys Eric Bachman and Jason Zuckerman, former senior officials at the U.S. Office of Special Counsel, have released a guide for federal employee whistleblowers titled The Whistleblower Protection Act: Empowering Federal Employees to Root Out Waste, Fraud and Abuseand is available for download by clicking here.
The goal of the guide is to inform federal employees about the whistleblower rights and protections available under the Whistleblower Protection Act, as amended by the Whistleblower Protection Enhancement Actand the Follow the Rules Act.
Tips for Virginia SEC Whistleblowers About Qualifying for a SEC Whistleblower Award
See our column in Forbes: One Billion Reasons Why The SEC Whistleblower-Reward Program Is Effective.
SEC Whistleblower Program
Scheduling a Consultation with Zuckerman Law Virginia Whistleblower Lawyers
To schedule a confidential consultation, call us at (571) 288-1309 or (202) 262-8959.
Virginia SEC Whistleblower Lawyers
Resources for Whistleblowers at Federal Contractors and GranteesWhistleblower Protections Under the National Defense Authorization Act (w-008-5821)
- Boosting Contractor Employee Whistleblower Protections, Law 360 (December 2016)
- New Tools to Combat Whistleblower Retaliation, Taxpayers Against Fraud Education Fund Quarterly Review, Vol. 57 (October 2010)
- GAO Report Calls for Improvements in Government Contractor Whistleblower Protections
- False Claims Act Retaliation Decision Underscores Broad Scope of FCA Whistleblower Protection
- NDAA Provides Robust Whistleblower Protection
- NDAA Contractor Whistleblower Protection Law Highly Effective in Rooting Out Fraud
- Congress Enacts Anti-Gag Provision in Cromnibus Spending Bill
- Whistleblower Lawyer Jason Zuckerman Will Speak About False Claims Act Litigation at Taxpayers Against Fraud Conference
- Whistleblower Protections Under the Whistleblower Protection Act, Practical Law (October 2016)
- Whistleblower Lawyer Jason Zuckerman Quoted in National Law Journal
- Whistleblower Lawyer Jason Zuckerman Quoted About Federal Employee Whistleblower Rights
- Washington Post Quotes Whistleblower Attorney Jason Zuckerman About Chilling Effect of Insider Threat Program
- How to foster a more ethical culture
- Whistleblower Lawyer Jason Zuckerman Quoted About MacLean Whistleblower Protection Act Case
- Trump Questionnaire Raises Concerns About Retaliation Against Energy Department Staff
- CFPB official wants to silence a whistleblower before he can talk to Congress