The biggest problem that I have when dealing with inquiries about whistleblower rewards is getting the whistleblower to focus on what the potential defendant did to defraud the government and/or the shareholders. The whistleblower would rather talk about what the defendant did to him or her.
Here’s how these talks go:
Whistleblower: So, about three months after that, the boss gives me a bad performance appraisal. It was retaliation because I made that report.
Me: What did you report?
Whistleblower: I told them it was illegal, and right after that, my boss sent me an email telling me I shouldn’t be abrasive. That wasn’t a problem before.
Me: What was illegal?
Whistleblower: It’s RETALIATION!
Me: I meant your report….the report that caused the retaliation. What was the company doing that you thought was illegal?
Whistleblower: Well, they were overcharging, so I wrote the email, and then, right after that my boss had my office moved.
Me: Who was being overcharged? The government?
Whistleblower: Yeah, of course. The boss just didn’t want to hear it. And, I was the only woman there, so I think I upset the good ol’ boys.
Me: Okay, what were they overcharging?
You get the idea.
I know it’s difficult when one is still reeling from office bullying and retaliation, but to make a whistleblower reward claim possible, the potential claimant has to shift focus. The question is NOT what bad things did your boss do to you; it’s how did the company cheat the government or mislead the shareholders?
If you’re serious about trying to get a whistleblower reward, focus on the wrongdoing against the government and/or the shareholders. Put your own situation aside – at least for the moment.