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Georgia Employment Law Blog

What should I do if my employer is committing fraud in Georgia?

Sometimes, employees discover that their employer is engaging in illegal practices, such as fraud. This can put the employee in a complicated position in which he or she must decide what to do with this knowledge. 

The federal government has a program to help employees who suspect their employer is committing fraud that harms the government. If you suspect your employer is committing fraud and you want to know how to proceed in terms of properly reporting this suspicion, here is some information that can help guide you.

Must I go on leave if I become pregnant?

As an employed Georgia woman who may be thinking about starting a family, you should be aware that pregnancy discrimination still exists in the workplace. Before you laugh this off as a ludicrous possibility, consider the case of a female Walmart employee right here in Georgia.

Last summer a woman employed at the Walmart Distribution Center located in Atlanta developed morning sickness symptoms while at work. She asked for permission to take an early break; however, her supervisor told her that this was a “special privilege” for which she needed a doctor's note. Not wishing to make trouble, she gave up the idea of an early break and kept working to the best of her ability. She did, however, see her doctor shortly thereafter and obtained his statement saying she should not do any heavy lifting at work during her pregnancy.

Understanding the common forms of government fraud

You might suspect that someone in your company is committing a form of wrongdoing, but you either lack the proof or you fear that reporting it may come back to you in the form of retribution. Unfortunately, this is not an uncommon fear for those working in government positions. Government fraud is also common, ranging from untruthful benefits recipients to employees or managers defrauding the entities they work for. Your connection to government work in Georgia makes it important to understand the different types of fraud that can cost the government - and consumers - billions of dollars.

Government fraud is largely financially-driven. For example, health care practitioners might receive additional compensation by providing false or misleading information on their claims forms, or ordinary consumers may be dishonest in filling out applications or reporting changes in their income to receive government benefits. Some of the types of government fraud you might witness can include the following:

  • Medicaid and Medicare fraud - false claims by recipients, health care practitioners overcharging for services or prescriptions
  • Health care, hospital and pharmaceutical fraud - practitioners overcharging or charging for services not rendered, charging for patients who do not exist, charging for a service that was medically unnecessary, charging for an expensive prescription when the drug was a generic version
  • Financial industry fraud - money laundering, false or fraudulent mortgage claims through the Federal Housing Administration, false certification of eligibility for government funding, failing to follow funding regulations
  • Construction fraud - providing substandard materials and workmanship, falsifying documents and progress reports, not following contract regulations, accepting bribes or illegal kickbacks
  • Energy fraud - falsifying research data or other information for grant purposes, defrauding the government of gas and oil royalties, using grant money for personal reasons

3 ways the law protects you from employee retaliation

Often people use the excuse that "it is just business" in order to justify committing crimes that will increase profits. When you become aware that your employer is engaging in any form of illegal activity, you may be too scared to say something for fear of losing your job or ruining your professional reputation. Maybe you are scared officials will think you were involved in the criminal behavior or made it up.

Whatever the reason for your hesitation, the good news is that federal law protects you from retaliation for whistleblowing, filing a workers' compensation claim, reporting discrimination and other actions. The following are just three of the ways the law offers protection.

Why don't women report sexual harassment in the workplace?

There are many reasons why women from a range of industries choose to remain silent. However, it is important for these women to remember that they always have a place to turn to.

No one should have to tolerate sexual harassment, and yet, many do.

Do you suspect a coworker of online harassment?

You have a right to work in an environment that is free from the stress caused by harassment, and that includes online harassment, which comes in various forms.

You have not had any problem with harassment of any kind until you started working at your current place of employment. This is why you believe a coworker is behind the disturbing messages you are receiving now.

How the False Claims Act protects whistleblowers

If you see wrongdoing at your company, you might understandably be hesitant to report it to your superiors or the authorities. Throughout recent history, many of those who report fraud, corruption or illegal activity at their places of employment have suffered negative consequences. These whistleblowers might have been demoted, transferred to an unfavorable facility, lost benefits or lost their jobs. Some have even been threatened with jail or been made to feel as if their lives were at risk. You and other Georgia residents should be able to right a wrong without having to fear the consequences.

The False Claims Act is a law meant to protect you and others who report a person or organization that is defrauding the U.S. government.

Pregnancy discrimination can take many forms

Pregnancy discrimination is a form of workplace harassment that often does not receive as much attention as other forms of harassment. But it is prevalent nonetheless. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission receives more than 3,000 pregnancy discrimination complaints in a typical year. 

Harassment takes many shapes. One common scenario is when an employer discriminates against a pregnant woman during the hiring process because he or she does not want to provide a new employee with paid leave in the near future. However, there are many other ways for employers to discriminate, and it is often the case that the aggrieved can pursue legal action. 

Stand up to sexual harassment in the workplace

With many claims of sexual harassment against powerful men in Hollywood and politics having surfaced in the news, now is a watershed moment for reporting such incidents. If you have been sexually harassed in the workplace, you do not have to stay silent; there are many things you can do to stand up to this type of behavior.

The following suggestions are different ways you can take action against sexual harassment in the workplace and stand up for your rights. Those who perpetuate this kind of behavior often benefit from their victims staying silent, and this enables them to continue their behavior against others with impunity.

Are you eligible for FMLA leave?

The Family and Medical Leave Act protects certain American workers from losing their jobs for taking time off to tend to their own health issues or those of a loved one. Whether you are able to take advantage of FMLA depends on several factors, including how long you have worked for your company and how many other workers your place of business currently employs.

More specifically, in order to qualify for FMLA leave, your employer must have a staff of 50 or more workers, and all of them must work within 75 miles of where you do. Further, you must have at least a 12-month history working for your employer, though the 12 months do not necessarily have to be consecutive. In addition to working for your employer for at least 12 months, you must have also worked at least 1250 hours during that period to qualify for FMLA leave.