Whistleblowers Deserve Gratitude Amid COVID-19 Obstacles
Today, the attorneys at Peter Angelos Law extend our thanks to our nation’s whistleblowers who guard the integrity of our rights and democracy, expose fraudulent practices against the government and choose right over wrong. Especially in the midst of COVID, whistleblowers and the part they play in society are paramount to exposing noncompliance and mishandling of pandemic regulations.
Whistleblowers All Over the Country Bravely Step Forward Amid Alleged COVID-19 Violations
Without the brave actions of whistleblowers, fraudulent activity intended to deceive the government may continue to proceed undetected. In 2020, the role whistleblowers played in society was perhaps more prevalent with the added factor of COVID-19. Often anonymous, COVID whistleblowers all over the country have stepped up to unveil dishonest practices carried out amid a distressed national state. Notable examples include an employee of a meatpacking facility who exposed COVID-19 violations within her workplace. The employee uncovered that there was no social distancing within her workplace and her employers would not send her home even when she fell ill. Additionally, a group of nurses employed by a Massachusetts nursing home were met with retaliation after exposing their nursing home’s terrible working conditions and understaffing to Reuters. One nurse was fired, and another banned from the premises, as a result of exposing these transgressions. These are just a few of the numerous cases of whistleblowers stepping up to divulge unfair or even fraudulent practices during a national crisis.
Statistical Evidence Sheds Light on Whistleblower Backlash
Reports show that COVID-19 whistleblowers require more protection and support amid backlash. As of December 14th, the United States Department of Labor’s COVID-19 Response Summary shows 3,597 total complaints filed, and 263 complaints pending.
Whistleblowers are facing obstacles extending beyond the United States as well. In UK-based whistleblowing charity Protect’s recent report on the treatment of COVID-19 whistleblowers, 20% of those who raised concerns about safety measures or fraudulent furlough schemes were dismissed. 41% of employees were ignored altogether. Further, a drastic 90% of cases reported to Protect involved alleged furlough fraud. You can view the full Protect report here.
Not only do these reports necessitate the importance of COVID-19 whistleblowers, but they are facing more repercussions or dismissals that could potentially affect their job security and livelihood down the road. It takes a brave individual to speak out and potentially risk their secure employment during the pandemic.
The Attorneys at Peter Angelos Law Thank Whistleblowers for Their Service
It is imperative that whistleblowers know how much their service is needed. The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC)’s Whistleblower Program published its 2020 Annual Report to Congress in November 2020—$2.7 billion in total monetary sanctions came from whistleblowers alone in the past ten years of the Whistleblower Program. As a result, the SEC has awarded over $720 million to whistleblowers in monetary awards for their services. The work of whistleblowers in exposing fraud, mismanagement and noncompliance in the handling of COVID-19 and beyond is protected under qui tam and the False Claims Act. Reach out to an attorney at Peter Angelos Law here to file a claim if you hold the knowledge of corporate wrongdoings or fraud.