Whistleblower Lawyers Serving Spartanburg and Greenville, SC
South Carolina and federal whistleblower laws provide financial incentives to workers who report fraud or other wrongdoing. These laws also prohibit employers from retaliating against whistleblowers by firing or taking other adverse employment actions against them.
Any worker in Spartanburg, Greenville or elsewhere in South Carolina who believes they have been mistreated by their employer due to their whistleblower activities should seek immediate assistance from an attorney. You may need to take prompt action in your case.
To learn more about the rights and remedies available to you, contact Harrison, White, Smith & Coggins, P.C. An experienced employment law attorney from our firm can examine your case, explain the protections available to you and take the steps needed to pursue relief in your case.
South Carolina Whistleblower Protections
Depending on where you work and the type of wrongdoing that you have discovered, you may be eligible to seek protection under South Carolina law.
In particular, South Carolina’s “whistleblower statute” provides financial incentives to state government agency employees who report fraud, abusive acts or other violations of state and federal laws and regulations by a public agency or one of its officers or employees.
If your report leads to the state saving money, you could receive either $2,000 or 25 percent of the state’s estimated savings during the first year after the report is made – whichever is less. However, to be eligible, you must file a written report of the wrongdoing within 60 days after you learn of it.
Additionally, under the law, if the state agency you work for dismisses, suspends, demotes or decreases your compensation within one year after you make your report, you are entitled to institute a non-jury civil action against that agency.
In your claim, you would need to establish that:
- Your employer knew of your report, and
- But for your report, the employer would not have taken an adverse action against you.
Several forms of relief could be available to you, including:
- Reinstatement to your former position
- Lost wages
- Up to $15,000 in actual damages
- Attorney fees and costs
Before you pursue such an action, you must exhaust all available grievance or other administrative remedies, including filing a formal complaint with the appropriate state agency.
You must file the action in South Carolina state court within one year after the adverse action against you or your administrative remedies have been exhausted. If you fail to do so, your claim would be barred.
Because it can take significant time and effort to connect your report to the adverse employment action against you, it will be crucial for you to contact an attorney without delay. A lawyer can ensure that your claim proceeds as smoothly as possible through all proper administrative and legal channels.
Federal Whistleblower Protections
The federal False Claims Act also rewards and protects whistleblowers from retaliation. The law applies to workers from both the public and private sectors who initiate qui tam actions against those who defraud the federal government.
If you pursue a claim under this law, and the federal government intervenes, you can receive between 15 to 25 percent of what is recovered in the lawsuit. If the government does not intervene, and you prevail in the lawsuit on your own, you can receive between 25 to 30 percent of the recovery.
You must bring this claim in a federal court such as the U.S. District Court for the District of South Carolina within six years of your discovery of the fraudulent conduct.
Also, like the South Carolina law, the False Claims Act prohibits employers from dismissing, disciplining or taking any other adverse action against you based on your participation in a qui tam action.
If you are able establish that you are a victim of whistleblower retaliation, the law entitles you to relief that may include:
- Reinstatement to your former job
- Back pay
- Special damages such as pain and suffering
- Attorney fees and costs.
As with the South Carolina law, you will need to file your claim within one year from the date of the adverse employment action or the exhaustion of your administrative remedies.
Contact Our Upstate South Carolina Whistleblower Attorneys Today
An attorney from Harrison, White, Smith & Coggins, P.C., can make sure your rights are fully protected if you report fraud or other wrongdoing through either the South Carolina or federal whistleblower statutes. We will work diligently to seek not only the reward you may deserve for revealing the misconduct but also any relief you are entitled to receive due to your employer’s retaliation against you. Contact us today to get started in your case.
Sources / More Information
- Title 8, Public Officers and Employees (Chapter 27, Employment Protection for Reports of Violations of State or Federal Law or Regulation), South Carolina Legislature
- False Claims Act, U.S. Department of Justice