John A. Klassen, PA Minnesota Employment Law Attorney
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Participants in Minnesota whistleblower action receive payment

When a Minneapolis resident or group of residents is aware that a company or an entity is in violation of the law, they might be hesitant to report this incident or knowledge. This is especially true when it is an employee that seeks to report a violation of their employer. Whistleblower protection has been established specifically for matters like this. When employees have knowledge of a legal violation, they should be able to make a claim without fearing that they would be penalized or even lose their job.

Stemming from a claim brought in 2007, the Mayo Clinic, located in Rochester, has agreed to pay $1.26 million to the federal government to settle claims made against them. The claim was brought under the whistleblower provision contained in the False Claims Act. It alleged that the Mayo Clinic and three other entitles made false billing claims.

It was alleged that Mayo billed Medicare, Medicaid and other federal health care programs for things they never carried out. When it was discovered that they billed the government for services that were never rendered, the Mayo Clinic promptly corrected this by making a refund of the money. In addition to paying the refund, Mayo agreed to pay an addition $1 million. Once payment is received, the whistleblowers who participated in the action will receive $229,822, while Mayo covers their attorney and legal fees.

When someone participates in a whistleblower action, they often fear whether their employer will retaliate for speaking out. This could create a hostile work environment, wrongful termination and a damaged reputation. This is why whistleblower rights and protections have been established. The government seeks to promote the reporting of illegal activities or law violations. By providing protections, more whistleblowing actions will commence.

If an individual believes that they are being penalized or retaliated against because they are involved in a whistleblower action, they should seek to understand the situation better. Furthermore, they should seek advice about any steps they could take or if they have a cause of action for the damages they have suffered.

Source: FOX 47, "Mayo Clinic to pay $1 million in lawsuit settlement," May 1, 2014

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