The construction industry is a highly competitive market. Contractors place bids to obtain work for both private industry jobs and government projects. When making these bids, they are obligated to provide fair estimates as to the costs involved in the project and a potential completion date. Any intentional effort to mislead customers or the government is an example of fraud.
The State has a significant interest in rooting out and punishing this illegal activity. At the same time, they often rely on individuals to come forward with information about fraud to initiate their investigations. If you have this information and want to report your employer or any other company, a Columbia construction contract fraud whistleblower lawyer could help. At the Law Office of Bill Nettles, our dedicated whistleblower attorneys are ready to assist you in filing these reports and shield you against any potential retaliation.
The construction industry centers around contracts whereby contractors bid for the opportunity to complete a job. When contractors make these bids, they must provide a good-faith estimate of the costs and time involved in completing the job. This provides the company or government that is sourcing the work with the ability to make an informed decision about their project.
Fraud can occur during the bidding process. This can involve the intentional understatement of associated costs or an improper estimation of the time the job will take. Fraud can also occur during the performance of the contract. This may involve a contractor using subpar materials or intentionally inflating the time needed to complete the task.
Fraud laws allow an affected party to seek a remedy in civil court and may amount to criminal charges for the individual or entity who intentionally misled others. A Columbia construction contract fraud whistleblower attorney could help people uncover instances of fraud that violate South Carolina law.
Serving as a whistleblower can seem like a risky proposition. Many people who have information about illegal activity are employees of the companies performing these fraudulent acts. It is only natural to feel that coming forward may jeopardize a person’s job.
Thankfully, it is illegal for an employer to take any retaliatory action against a whistleblower. Under South Carolina Code § 41-15-510, no person may discharge, demote, or otherwise punish an employee who files any complaint against their employer. It is also illegal to retaliate against an employee participating in an investigation.
When a company violates this law, the affected employee has the right to pursue a legal remedy in civil court. S.C. Code § 41-15-520 gives an individual 30 days after the retaliatory action to submit a complaint to the Director of the Department of Labor. The resulting lawsuits can demand reinstatement at a job and the receipt of all back pay. A construction contract fraud whistleblower attorney in Columbia could help employees file these complaints if they feel that they have experienced punishment as a product of their serving as a whistleblower.
The construction industry offers many opportunities for fraud. This includes artificially understating the time or costs associated with a project or taking too long to complete a job after awarding a contract. This behavior is considered both a criminal act and a cause of action for a civil lawsuit.
If you believe that you have information about fraudulent activity and want to come forward, a Columbia construction contract fraud whistleblower lawyer may be able to help. We can explain how to file complaints with the relevant government agency and are ready to protect you against potential retaliation or take the lead if you have already experienced punishment as a result of your reporting. With decades of experience, our team is uniquely qualified to provide you with the guidance you need. Call today to schedule a consultation.