The government protects the environment from hazardous practices like overfishing, dumping oil at sea, and stripping forests of trees for lumber. Many federal laws allow you to report such actions. While this can mean monetary rewards for many, it can also lead to illegal retaliation from the company or a whistleblower’s employer, which is why you should first consult an experienced whistleblower attorney.
The False Claims Act allows you to file a lawsuit on behalf of the government, called a qui tam suit, and you can be rewarded with a percentage of the money the government recoups. A false claim that defrauds the government can be used widely, but would apply to environmental issues if, for instance, a fishing fleet harvested tuna illegally and lied about it. A Greenville environmental regulation whistleblower lawyer could file complaints for you under the proper federal laws and represent you in a qui tam lawsuit.
Along with the False Claims Act, the Endangered Species Act awards whistleblowers who report hunters and others who poach protected animals. The False Claims Act rewards all whistleblowers under specific conditions, but rewards under the Endangered Species Act are discretionary.
The Act to Prevent Pollution from Ships (APPS) rewards those who blow the whistle on pollution at sea. The federal court sanctions violators who pollute the seas, such as for oil spills, and can award a whistleblower up to 50 percent of those sanctions for turning in violators.
One act that encourages environmental whistleblowing includes the Commodity Exchange Act (CEA) that regulates commodities and futures; and could be a basis for a whistleblower with, for example, knowledge of bribes paid for oil rights. The Securities Exchange Act grants the Securities and Exchange Commission broad power to regulate the securities industry and might be used for whistleblower claims in which a public company is breaking environmental laws. The Foreign Corrupt Practices Act makes it illegal for Americans to bribe officials from other nations for a business advantage.
An environmental regulation whistleblower attorney in Greenville could determine whether a company or individual violated a law meant to stop bribery.
In many cases, whistleblowers under the False Claims Act can bring qui tam lawsuits on behalf of the federal government against environmental wrongdoers. They generally receive a percentage of the money recovered from the defendant, and the complaint must be based on unique knowledge the whistleblower has, which is generally from an employee.
Both federal and state law protect whistleblowers from retaliation by employers. Locally, under South Carolina Code § 41-15-510, employers cannot dismiss, harass, or punish employees who instigate an investigation or file a complaint.
Employers who retaliate will be sanctioned by the Department of Labor, and employees will be awarded back pay, get their jobs back, and could be eligible for other compensation. Talk to a Greenville environmental regulation whistleblower attorney to file a complaint or report retaliatory actions.
Whistleblowers who report violations of environmental law can save habitats from decimation, or air and water from pollution. When you have unique knowledge of wrongdoing, our attorneys could explain how you might be rewarded for coming forward or be able to file a lawsuit against the perpetrator.
No South Carolina law firm has the experience our team has racked up in the decades we have been handling whistleblower complaints. Bill Nettles served for decades as a U.S. Attorney, and Fran Trapp has spent more than two decades representing whistleblowers. Contact a Greenville environmental regulation whistleblower lawyer to take the next step.