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What is my recourse?

San Diego, CA |

I filed a complaint against my immediate supervisor for retaliation. I exposed that she had been allowing the company to file false claims for over two years. 6mos before my time. I received a final written determination for unrelated issues. I also informed the CFO of fraudulent billing and explained that money must be paid back to Medi-caid, the day after I was told the final written warning would not appear in my personnel record I was suspended for a complaint of demeaning employees. The complaint was "my tone and approach, they feel as though I don't know what they are doing. This was grounds for immediate suspension. I've been in the office twice answering questions unrelated to the suspension, but they are investigating my concerns inregards to future retaliation. This was it.

Attorney Answers 2


  1. First and foremost, do not post any other information else on this public site. You have described the facts so clearly that anyone who knows anything about your situation will be able to identify you. There is no privacy or confidentiality here on Avvo; anyone can see what is written here, including your employer.

    You are wise to question whether the write up is retaliatory and/or one step in an attempt to fire you. I have yet to see an employer who appreciates a whistleblower complaint; often the employer knows exactly what is going on and looks the other way because it is more profitable or easier. Sometimes the employer makes a point of not knowing what is going on. In either case, a whistleblower shakes things up and forces the employer to confront a very bad situation. Some employers prefer to avoid this and think that getting rid of the whistleblower is the way to go. Other employers start to feel the whistleblower is not a team player, so she has to go. Or the employer starts to look closely at the whistleblower's work and discovers things that are imperfect – and what employee (or manager) is absolutely perfect?

    Whether you have protection under the law depends on many things, including the nature of your information to the employer, the proximity of the discipline to the report(s) or other related acts, your pre-whistleblowing performance, length of employment, and more. Then there is the issue of evidence – can you prove it is more likely than not that you are being subjected to retaliation?

    There is a lot to consider with respect to whistleblowing, as you can see. For more information about whistleblowers and their rights, please see my Avvo guide: http://www.avvo.com/legal-guides/ugc/whistleblowers-and-their-rights?published=true

    The only way to know where you stand is to consult with one or more experienced employment law attorneys with whom you can discuss the details of your situation in confidence. To find a plaintiffs employment attorney in California, please go to the web site of the California Employment Lawyers Association (CELA). CELA is the largest and most influential bar association in the state for attorneys who represent working people. The web site is www.cela.org. Click on "Find a CELA Member" and you can search by location and practice area. Many CELA attorneys represent clients throughout the state.

    I hope you can resolve your situation and wish you the best.

    Marilynn Mika Spencer
    San Diego

    twitter.com/MikaSpencer *** All legal actions have time limits, called statutes of limitation. If you miss the deadline for filing your claim, you will lose the opportunity to pursue your case. Please consult with an experienced employment attorney as soon as possible to better preserve your rights. *** Marilynn Mika Spencer provides information on Avvo as a service to the public, primarily when general information may be of assistance. Avvo is not an appropriate forum for an in-depth response or a detailed analysis. These comments are for information only and should not be considered legal advice. Legal advice must pertain to specific, detailed facts. No attorney-client relationship is created based on this information exchange. *** Marilynn Mika Spencer is licensed to practice law before all state and federal courts in California, and can appear before administrative agencies throughout the country. She is eligible to represent clients in other states on a pro hac vice basis. ***


  2. When complaining about fraudulent Medi-Caid billing, you are protected under the False Claims Act. You can't legally be fired or disciplined in any way for such complaints.

    Having said that, the issue will be one of proof. Certainly, timing is a good indicator that your complaint led to your termination.

    Moreover, you may be able to reclaim the money on behalf of the government in what's called a qui tam action. Depending on how much money was fraudulently obtained, the government frequently allows you to keep a percentage of whatever it is they eventually recover.

    I agree that posting detailed information on a public website like this is asking for trouble. You would be better advised to be less specific in your future posts.

    Good luck with your legal matter.

    Sincerely,
    Craig T. Byrnes
    www.ctblawfirm.com
    310-567-2706

    Disclaimer: Please be aware that I am not offering legal advice, nor forming an attorney-client relationship with you. I am not representing you, nor doing anything to protect your legal rights. If you believe that you have suffered a legal wrong, take action before any statute or limitations expires, or your right to do so may be lost forever. Good luck in your legal matter.

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