In an article titled, “Ex-employees sue liquor store, bar owner Cash Moore,” Florida Daily News reports about Brenda Lowery’s whistleblower retaliation and overtime nonpayment lawsuit against local liquor store and bar owner, Cash Moore. Ms. Lowery suffered retaliation when she reported to state authorities that she believed Moore’s company was engaged in illegal activity. Ms. Lowery and other employees were also denied overtime payment for hours worked in excess of 40 per week because their employer paid them for regular time in two separate paychecks for their work performed in separate but commonly owned and managed stores. The Employment Law Group® law firm is representing Ms. Lowery in her retaliation claims under the anti-retaliation provisions of the Florida Whistleblower Act, and is also representing Ms. Lowery and her coworkers by asserting overtime violations of the Fair Labor Standards Act.
The Employment Law Group® Law Firm Will Speak at Program on The Emerging Era in Whistleblower Rights and the Public’s Right to Know
On June 23, 2008, Employment Law Group Principal Jason Zuckerman will speak at a program titled, “The Emerging Era in Whistleblower Rights and the Public’s Right to Know.” The program, which is sponsored by The Government Accountability Project and American University Washington College of Law, will focus on strategies for effecting national security disclosures and protecting public employees’ First Amendment Rights under recently enacted whistleblower reforms. To register for this event, click here.
Today the Supreme Court issued a ruling on a key issue under the False Claims Act, i.e. whether the False Claims Act includes fraudulent claims made by subcontractors on a federal project or whether it only includes claims submitted directly to the federal government. In Allison Engine v. Thacker , the Court held that a relator asserting claims under Sections 3729(a)(2) and (3) of the False Claims Act cannot simply show that the defendant’s use of a false record or statement resulted in payment or approval of a false claim. Instead, the relator must show that the defendant intended to use a false record or statement to induce the government’s payment or approval of a false claim.
Relying on the plain meaning of Section 3729(a)(3), the Court held that the False Claims Act can be applied to subcontractors and other indirect recipients of government funds. According to the Court, the False Claims Act was intended to expose any conspiracy to defraud the government in getting a false claim approved or paid and therefore, subcontractors who submitted claims for payment that concealed defects in Gen-Sets manufactured for installation on Navy destroyers, can be liable under Sections 3729(a)(2) and (3) of the False Claims Act.
Last week, 112 diverse organizations rallied together to persuade leading U.S. Senate and House officials to enact stronger protections for federal employee whistleblowers. The coalition, led by the Government Accountability Project and the Project on Government Oversight, delivered a letter to legislators advocating prompt reconciliation of the House and Senate versions of whistleblower protection legislation that were enacted in March 2007 and December 2007. The letter also emphasized the need for stronger whistleblower protections, including the right to a jury trial and expansion of protections to scientists and national security whistleblowers.
On June 2, 2008, the U.S. Tax Court proposed new rules for determining IRS whistleblower awards under section 7263. The proposed rules grant the court jurisdiction over appeals of award determinations and include procedures for commencing a whistleblower award action.
Among the proposed amendments are references to actions for redetermination of a whistleblower’s employment status, determination of relief from joint and several liability, and lien or levy, and authorization for electronic service. The press release regarding the proposed amendments to the Tax Court’s Rules of Practice and Procedure is available here.