When considering whether to report illegal activity, you have many details to consider. Do you really have the information you need to file a claim? Will your claim impact your career? How can you protect yourself and your ability to support your family? Whistleblowers should also consider one important, practical question: how long do you have to make your claim?
You have a limited amount of time to report illegal activity or fraud.
Whistleblowers have a limited amount of time to file their claim, known as the statute of limitations. However, it is important to know that these limitations depend on the laws and government bodies involved. For violations of the False Claims Act, for example, you cannot file a claim more than six years after the violation occurred, however, any claim under the FCA for retaliation must be filed within three years.
And, speaking of retaliation, one equation in the decision on timing to make an internal complaint is protecting your career. An attorney can assist you in protecting your career by assuring your internal complaint is legally protected.
Other people may also intend to blow the whistle.
In order to make a whistleblower claim, your report needs to include information that is unknown to the government body you make your report to, and you must be “first-in-time” to make that report. This means that if another person has already presented the same or even similar evidence you want to report, you will no longer have a valid claim or be eligible for financial rewards as a whistleblower.
Because whistleblowers need to navigate a variety of laws, including these limitations on their time, it is important for people considering blowing the whistle to seek legal guidance. An attorney can help you identify the statute of limitations that applies in your case. They can also help you protect your rights and career while you hold businesses responsible for their illegal activity.