Verizon and AT&T to Pay $116 Million in Successful Whistleblower Lawsuit
Written by AskTheLawyers.com™
In 2012, a whistleblower reported Verizon Wireless and AT&T Mobility for failing to uphold their contractual agreements with California government entities regarding optimizing rates. As a result, approximately 300 government entities including cities, schools, and other California agencies will receive portions of the settlement to compensate the damages caused by these wireless carrier giants.
Verizon and AT&T continue to deny any wrongdoing and say that they settled to avoid further costly litigation.
After eight years of legal proceedings, it is not surprising that these companies would want to wrap up the case, even if it requires offering $68 million and $48 million respectively in settlement terms. The lawsuit details the contracts these wireless companies made with the California government, both of which promised to offer the lowest possible rate out of all of their plans and to further optimize and reduce rates as possible. The whistleblower who first brought the case forward alleged that these companies had violated this contract for several years. Later on, additional government agencies joined in the lawsuit after they became aware of the breach of contract.
Whistleblowing is a term used to describe when someone with insider information reports illegal conduct.
In many cases, whistleblowing occurs when an employee reports or openly complains about illegal conduct at work, usually by superiors. However, whistleblowing does not always have to come from an employee; anyone with access to privileged information and suspicions of wrongdoing can have the matter investigated and take legal action as applicable.
Whistleblowing can carry high risks but also high rewards.
The danger in blowing the whistle on illegal conduct usually comes in the form of workplace retaliation. Workplace retaliation can often take the form of harassment, demotions, pay cuts, and even wrongful termination. This is why it is a good idea to speak to a whistleblower attorney before taking action if you suspect illegal conduct is occurring at your workplace. An attorney can help explain your rights under the Whistleblower Protection Act, and can also discuss your eligibility for compensation; many whistleblowers receive an award in the settlement of a successful case for reporting the illegal conduct and preventing further damage.
The Verizon and AT&T whistleblower lawsuit is an example of whistleblowing done right.
Many whistleblower cases fizzle out without enough evidence or attention. The Verizon and AT&T lawsuit regarding failure to abide by their contracts with the California government is a good example of a strong whistleblower case. These types of cases can take years to wrap up, but whenever a defrauded party receives the compensation they deserve it's worth it.
Whistleblowing cases are often taken especially seriously when they involve the potential defrauding of a government entity. Due to the reliance of so many people on government resources, it is important that suspicions of fraudulent or otherwise illegal behavior be reported right away.
Do not blow the whistle without speaking to an attorney.
Many of the attorneys that handle cases similar to this one offer free consultations. This allows employees and insiders with potentially sensitive information to make a game plan for the protection of their livelihood before taking action. The whistleblower who filed against Verizon and AT&T sparked an important investigation into the conduct of these two wireless companies and helped ensure closer adherence to contracts in the future, benefiting not only the government entities involved in this lawsuit but other customers as well.