Many prospective whistleblowers are concerned with the possibility of being identified by their employer or peers. Retaliation for blowing the whistle is unlawful but that does not mean that these acts do not take place. The good news is that it can be possible to maintain anonymity during certain types of whistleblower proceedings.
If you are considering a whistleblower complaint, an experienced attorney could advise you on anonymity in Charleston whistleblower cases. Even if you are not guaranteed anonymity, there are aspects of the law that are meant to maintain your privacy.
Whether or not a whistleblower can remain anonymous throughout the process depends largely on the type of complaint they are pursuing. Each type of whistleblower complaint is governed by different statutes and overseen by different regulatory agencies.
It can be possible to pursue an anonymous whistleblower report to the SEC thanks to the Dodd-Frank Act. Under this Act, reporting securities fraud can be done anonymously by relying on legal counsel. An attorney could file the claim on behalf of the whistleblower and serve as their advocate throughout the process.
The False Claims Act includes the potential for whistleblower rewards in an array of cases. This Act is often used by whistleblowers with information regarding mortgage fraud using government-backed loans, and is one of the primary whistleblower statutes in the country. Unfortunately, there is no provision within the Act that will protect a person’s anonymity. Without a special carve-out allowing for an anonymous claim, federal law requires a person to pursue legal action in their own name in order for the case to be heard.
There are some privacy protections other than anonymity, however. When these cases are initially filed, they are done so under seal. That means that while the legal action is filed with the court, access to the case is limited to the court system, federal prosecutors, and the whistleblower’s legal team. This seal usually lasts up to 60 days but there are times when that period can be extended.
There are situations where maintaining anonymity is not an option. In addition to the types of claims where there is no avenue for filing a claim anonymously, a whistleblower’s identity could also be revealed during a criminal case.
During a criminal prosecution, the accused has the right to confront the witnesses against them. If the information used in the whistleblower report is part of the criminal case, the government could require that person to testify.
Even if anonymity cannot be maintained, there are ways an attorney could protect the privacy of a whistleblower. This includes aggressively pursuing legal action in the face of any retaliation.
Maintaining anonymity is possible with some whistleblower cases but not with others. That said, the right attorney could help protect your privacy by making the most out of the protections that do exist under the law. This could include maintaining complete anonymity under Dodd-Frank or maximizing the protections of filing a False Claims Act case under seal.
Before you file your own whistleblower claim, it could be in your best interest to discuss the matter with an experienced attorney. Anonymity might not be an option in every situation but there are several ways an attorney could help you protect your privacy. Call right away to learn more.