Bethlehem Whistleblower Protection Lawyers

Serving the Lehigh Valley, Pennsylvania Area

While Pennsylvania’s whistleblower statute only protects those employees whose report claims of wrongdoing or waste by their employer when the employer is a “public body,” the definition of public body is quite broad. It includes anybody created by the Commonwealth or “which is funded in any amount by or through Commonwealth or political subdivision authority or a member or employee of that body.” Thus, an individual working for a private employer may be protected by the state’s whistle blowing law if his employer receives “any amount of funding” from the state. The Pennsylvania Superior Court has already held that a private business’ receipt of Medicaid funds brings it within the scope of the state’s whistleblower statute.

However, prior to making complaints of waste, fraud or abuse, whether to their employer or a government agency, employees need to be sure that their whistleblowing conduct will be protected by law. Consequently, it is critical that employees receive competent legal advice, both as to whether they are protected by Pennsylvania’s whistleblowing statute and whether the intended manner of their whistleblowing is protected by the statute.

A number of federal statutes provide for whistleblower protection for individuals employed in private enterprises. The whistleblower protection provisions of a few of these statutes are listed below:

  • Section 402 of the Food Safety Modernization Act (relating to employees of employers engaged in the manufacture, processing, packing, transporting, distribution, reception, holding, or importation of food who report violations of the Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act)
  • Section 1558 of the Affordable Care Act (relating to employees who report violations of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, which was enacted by Congress is 2010)
  • Section 1057 of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act of 2010 (relating to employees who report violations of this financial reform law)

Notably, whistleblower protection statutes typically protect not only employees who report actual violations but also employees who report conduct that they reasonably believe to be violations. Therefore, an employee may be entitled to whistleblower protection if he is fired for reporting conduct by the employer that, while not an actual violation of the law or government regulation, nevertheless could reasonably be believed to be such as violation.

It is very important for an employee to know his or her rights in this complex area of the law. If you have concerns about whether your employer may be violating the law, consult a employment law attorney at Littner, Deschler & Littner today to discuss your options and to ascertain whether you will be protected if you decide to engage in whistleblowing activity. We are here to help.