Hawaii does have a state False Claims Act. Whistleblowers may file claims of fraud, waste or abuse affecting state government. The U.S. Department of Health & Human Services rates Hawaii’s FCA at least as strong as the federal FCA when it comes to Medicaid Fraud claims. If you have a whistleblower claim, please contact us so that a lawyer may advise you about your whistleblower rights under the state FCA as well as qui tam provisions of the federal False Claims Act.
Hawai’i Whistleblower and Qui Tam News
- Hawaii employer’s investigation short-circuits whistleblower claim
December 19, 2014 – A Hawaii electrician sued his employer, claiming he was terminated for complaining about alleged safety violations. A federal judge dismissed his claims, citing an in-house investigation during which the company learned the electrician had been sexually harassing a female coworker and intimidating his male coworkers. In other words, the company’s investigation helped it short-circuit the electrician’s whistleblower claim.
- Hawaii judge rules employer’s arbitration policy is not enforceable
October 17, 2014 – After an employee sued, claiming she was terminated for race and age discrimination and whistleblowing, her former employer asked a federal judge in Hawaii to compel her to arbitrate her claims pursuant to its arbitration policy. The judge ruled the arbitration policy wasn’t enforceable because the employer reserved the right to amend, modify, or terminate it after the employee signed it. In addition, the judge found there was inadequate evidence that the employee actually agreed to the policy using the employer’s electronic acknowledgment system.
- Water safety officer sues Kauai Fire Department for retaliation
July 22, 2014 – A second water safety officer has filed a suit against the county and Kauai Fire Department for retaliation. The plaintiff, Carl Ragasa Jr., reported to a supervisor that he observed a KFD employee stealing gas from the county to use in a side business with Vierra. The employee in question was transferred to another station and was not disciplined, the complaint alleges. Ragasa’s attorney, Tracy Fukui, said that in addition to the Whistleblower Act, county employees are entitled to protections against retaliation at the work place for speech involving matters of public concern under the First Amendment. She said Hawaii provides similar protections, but federal law provides clear remedies through civil action for such constitutional violations.