Underutilized Whistleblower Statutes Can Help Some Immigrants

There are numerous ways that immigrant workers are taken advantage of. This is especially true in immigrant-heavy industries, like construction. Most people are not aware that there are whistleblower statutes that can both protect immigrant workers, and financially reward them, if they provide useful information about how the government may be defrauded.

Here’s a useful example of the type of employment fraud an immigrant worker may be able to blow the whistle on. Some employers prefer to pay employees in cash because it avoids having to disclose those employees to the government, which reduces the employer’s total employee count. With fewer employees, the employer’s worker’s compensation insurance costs thus go down. If the state government is the provider of that insurance, then the employer is cheating the government by falsely reducing the number of employees it has and the amount of insurance premiums it must pay the government.

This type of fraud may fall under the state’s False Claims Act which enables individuals to blow the whistle on frauds that cost the government money. In these cases, the law permits the government to pay the whistleblower a percentage (ranging from 15% to 25%) of the money that the government recovers from the whistleblower’s information. Sometimes these awards go well into the millions of dollars.

Note: The above example deals with blue collar workers. There are also scenarios that can benefit white collar workers in the technology sector, energy field, finance or academia (among others).