A federal official has just filed a whistleblower complaint alleging that she was demoted for refusing to go over budget and pay more than was allowed to decorate Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson’s office. According to the sworn complaint filed with the Office of Special Counsel, the official was instructed to “find money” beyond the legal $5,000 limit allowed for redecorating. She asserts that as a result of her refusal to misuse taxpayer dollars, she lost her job as the Chief Administrative Officer.
In addition to the demotion, the official asserts that she suffered humiliation, loss of reputation and a chance at career advancement. An investigation into these claims continues.
Whistleblower lawsuits such as this one may be brought where an employee believes that he or she was unlawfully retaliated against for reporting fraud and/or illegal activity. A variety of whistleblower laws exist to protect workers from retaliation for reporting workplace wrongdoing. For example, Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) whistleblower laws protect employees from retaliation for complaining and/or reporting that a workplace is not following OSHA safety guidelines. Additionally, the False Claims Act/Qui Tam Law protects employees in certain situations who disclose employers’ attempts to defraud the federal government. The Sarbanes-Oxley act also protects individuals in publicly traded companies who provide information or assist in any investigation regarding conduct that they believe constitutes a violation of federal securities fraud statutes or SEC rules.
If you witness illegal or fraudulent activity at work, you shouldn’t fear retaliation from your employer. Thankfully, several whistleblower laws exist to protect you. For more information, please contact the experienced Atlanta whistleblower lawyers at Buckley Bala Wilson Mew LLP for an immediate case evaluation.