Skip to Main Content


Many people are in a position to observe wrongdoing by their employer. We are not talking about minor ethical lapses. We are talking about illegal actions that could lead to serious civil or criminal liability if exposed. When confronted with evidence of such actions, honest employees may want to take action but fear doing so will lead to retaliation, including the loss of their jobs.

Nobody should ever feel compelled to choose between their livelihood and doing the right thing. This is where an experienced whistleblower attorney can help. Saltz Mongeluzzi Bendesky P.C. is one of the country’s leading personal injury firms. We represent clients throughout Pennsylvania and New Jersey in cases centering on illegal actions by corporations and other private parties. We also represent whistleblowers who expose such wrongdoing and help ensure their legal rights are protected during this difficult period in their lives.

Who Is Considered a Whistleblower?

Several federal and state laws specifically protect whistleblowers. The basic definition of a “whistleblower” is someone who witnesses or has evidence of some form of wrongdoing by their employer. The wrongdoing itself may include:

  • violating a federal, state, or local government statute or regulation;
  • filing a false claim for payment with the government;
  • violating a code of conduct (or code of ethics) designed to protect the general public; or
  • any other conduct involving the misuse, waste, or loss of public funds or resources.

Whistleblower laws typically require the whistleblower to act in “good faith.” In simple terms, a whistleblower’s primary goal should be to expose illegal activity or wrongdoing. It should not be to “get back at” an employer or engage in a personal vendetta against a former boss. More to the point, a whistleblower must have some specific facts or knowledge that connects the employer to the improper activity. Merely reporting a “rumor” or unfounded allegation is usually insufficient for someone to claim whistleblower status.

The False Claims Act and Qui Tam Lawsuits

One of the most commonly cited statutes when it comes to whistleblowers is the False Claims Act (FCA). This is a federal statute that broadly prohibits various types of fraud committed against the federal government. Some common examples of FCA violations include:

  • presenting, or causing someone else to present, a false claim for payment from the government;
  • making, using, or causing others to make or use a false record or statement that is material to a fraudulent claim;
  • conspiring with others to violate the FCA;
  • failing to return government property (i.e., conversion);
  • making or delivering a receipt of government property without completely knowing the information in it is true;
  • purchasing public property from a government employee who is not authorized to sell it; or
  • knowingly concealing or improperly avoiding an obligation to pay money owed to the government.

Under the FCA, a whistleblower does not have to wait for the government to act on their information. The whistleblower can directly file a civil lawsuit on behalf of the federal government to recover any money falsely held by the wrongdoer. This is known as a qui tam action. If successful, the whistleblower–known as a relator in this context–is entitled to a portion of any money recovered by the government, usually between 15 and 30 percent. According to the United States Department of Justice, there were over 700 such whistleblower suits filed in 2023 alone, and in that same year, the DOJ settled previously filed qui tam claims for a combined total of over $2.3 billion.

Whistleblowing and Retaliation

Most states follow an “at-will” rule when it comes to employment. In broad terms, this means that absent an employment contract that provides otherwise, an employer is free to terminate an employee’s employment at any time, with or without giving a reason. There are, however, certain exceptions to the at-will rule. Such exceptions often include protections for whistleblowers.

In Pennsylvania, for example, several statutes afford protection to whistleblowers in specific industries. Such workers cannot be discharged or otherwise discriminated against if they refuse to carry out an illegal activity on their employer’s behalf, or if they make a good faith report of such illegal activities to the proper authorities. This includes:

  • reporting potentially illegal conduct to their supervisor or their employer’s senior management;
  • reporting potentially illegal conduct to a federal, state, or local agency charged with regulating the employer’s activities; or
  • testifying in any legal proceeding convened to investigate the employer for potential wrongdoing.

It is important to understand that firing an employee is just one form of illegal retaliation against a whistleblower. In general, the whistleblower may not be subject to any adverse action that might discourage or prevent them from raising a good-faith concern about the employer’s activities. Some non-discharge examples of retaliation include:

  • demoting or refusing to promote an employee;
  • reassigning the employee to a less-desirable or lower-paying job;
  • denying benefits to an employee;
  • excluding the employee from workplace activities, such as additional job training;
  • “blacklisting” an employee, i.e., giving them a bad recommendation to prevent them from obtaining future employment;
  • threatening to report the employee to law enforcement or immigration authorities;
  • engaging in a pattern of harassment designed to ostracize the employee; or
  • effectively forcing an employee to quit by engaging in one or more retaliatory acts (i.e., constructive discharge.)

In many cases, a whistleblower who is wrongfully terminated or disciplined for engaging in a legally protected activity can sue their employer and seek damages, including financial compensation and reinstatement to their job.

Schedule a Free Consultation With Our Pennsylvania & New Jersey Whistleblower Lawyer Today

Speak with a PA/NJ Whistleblower Attorney Today

The decision to become a whistleblower is never an easy one. However, it is often the only way that an employer’s illegal activities can be brought to the attention of the government and the public. So if you are thinking about coming forward and need legal advice from a skilled whistleblower attorney, contact Saltz Mongeluzzi Bendesky P.C. today to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation. With offices in Philadelphia, Delaware County, Montgomery County, and New Jersey, we are well-positioned to handle whistleblower claims throughout the region.