Mizzouri Whistleblower Protections
All Mizzouri citizens are protected by state and federal whistleblower laws. We have provided information about many of the laws in Mizzouri below. For more information about federal laws, click here.
Other Whistleblower Laws
Statutes specifically protecting government whistleblowers
State employee reporting mismanagement or violations of agencies, Mo. Ann. Stat. § 105.055
Parties Protected By Statute
Mo. Ann. Stat. § 105.055(1)
“. . . [A]ny employee of [an] agency. . . ”
Protected Actions Under Statute
Mo. Ann. Stat. § 105.055
1. No supervisor or appointing authority of any state agency shall prohibit any employee of the agency from discussing the operations of the agency, either specifically or generally, with any member of the legislature, state auditor, attorney general, or any state official or body charged with investigating such alleged misconduct.
2. No supervisor or appointing authority of any state agency shall:
(1) Prohibit a state employee from or take any disciplinary action whatsoever against a state employee for the disclosure of any alleged prohibited activity under investigation or any related activity, or for the disclosure of information which the employee reasonably believes evidences:
(a) A violation of any law, rule or regulation; or
(b) Mismanagement, a gross waste of funds or abuse of authority, or a substantial and specific danger to public health or safety, if the disclosure is not specifically prohibited by law; or
(2) Require any such employee to give notice to the supervisor or appointing authority prior to making any such report.
Specific Remedies Authorized By Statute
Mo. Ann. Stat. § 105.055
5. Any employee may file an administrative appeal whenever the employee alleges that disciplinary action was taken against the employee in violation of this section. The appeal shall be filed with the administrative hearing commission; provided that the appeal shall be filed with the appropriate agency review board or body of nonmerit agency employers which have established appeal procedures substantially similar to those provided for merit employees in subsection 5 of section 36.390. The appeal shall be filed within thirty days of the alleged disciplinary action. Procedures governing the appeal shall be in accordance with chapter 536. If the commission or appropriate review body finds that disciplinary action taken was unreasonable, the commission or appropriate review body shall modify or reverse the agency’s action and order such relief for the employee as the commission considers appropriate. If the commission finds a violation of this section, it may review and recommend to the appointing authority that the violator be suspended on leave without pay for not more than thirty days or, in cases of willful or repeated violations, may review and recommend to the appointing authority that the violator forfeit the violator’s position as a state officer or employee and disqualify the violator for appointment to or employment as a state officer or employee for a period of not more than two years. The decision of the commission or appropriate review body in such cases may be appealed by any party pursuant to law.
- In addition to the remedies in subsection 6 of this section, a person who alleges a violation of this section may bring a civil action for damages within ninety days after the occurrence of the alleged violation.
- A civil action commenced pursuant to this subsection may be brought in the circuit court for the county where the alleged violation occurred, the county where the complainant resides, or the county where the person against whom the civil complaint is filed resides.
- An employee must show by clear and convincing evidence that he or she or a person acting on his or her behalf has reported or was about to report, verbally or in writing, a prohibited activity or a suspected prohibited activity.
- A court, in rendering a judgment in an action brought pursuant to this section, shall order, as the court considers appropriate, actual damages, and may also award the complainant all or a portion of the costs of litigation, including reasonable attorney fees.
Statutes protecting whistleblowers who report fraud against government
Health Care Payment Fraud and Abuse Whistleblower Protections
Similar to the federal False Claims Act, the Virginia Fraud Against Tax Payers Act permits individuals with knowledge of fraud to pursue a qui tam action and it protects employees, contractors, and agents who engage in efforts to stop fraud from retaliation.
Mo. Ann. Stat. § 191.908
Parties Protected By Statute
Mo. Ann. Stat. § 191.908: “employee”
Protected Actions Under Statute
Mo. Ann. Stat. § 191.908
An employer shall not discharge, demote, suspend, threaten, harass, or otherwise discriminate against an employee in the terms and conditions of employment because the employee initiates, assists in, or participates in a proceeding or court action under sections 191.900 to 191.910. Such prohibition shall not apply to an employment action against an employee who:
(1) The court finds brought a frivolous or clearly vexatious claim;
(2) The court finds to have planned, initiated, or participated in the conduct upon which the action is brought; or
(3) Is convicted of criminal conduct arising from a violation of sections 191.900 to 191.910.”
Mo. Ann. Stat. § 191.905
- No health care provider shall knowingly make or cause to be made a false statement or false representation of a material fact in order to receive a health care payment, including but not limited to:
(1) Knowingly presenting to a health care payer a claim for a health care payment that falsely represents that the health care for which the health care payment is claimed was medically necessary, if in fact it was not;
(2) Knowingly concealing the occurrence of any event affecting an initial or continued right under a medical assistance program to have a health care payment made by a health care payer for providing health care;
(3) Knowingly concealing or failing to disclose any information with the intent to obtain a health care payment to which the health care provider or any other health care provider is not entitled, or to obtain a health care payment in an amount greater than that which the health care provider or any other health care provider is entitled;
(4) Knowingly presenting a claim to a health care payer that falsely indicates that any particular health care was provided to a person or persons, if in fact health care of lesser value than that described in the claim was provided.
- No person shall knowingly solicit or receive any remuneration, including any kickback, bribe, or rebate, directly or indirectly, overtly or covertly, in cash or in kind in return for:
(1) Referring another person to a health care provider for the furnishing or arranging for the furnishing of any health care; or
(2) Purchasing, leasing, ordering or arranging for or recommending purchasing, leasing or ordering any health care.
- No person shall knowingly offer or pay any remuneration, including any kickback, bribe, or rebate, directly or indirectly, overtly or covertly, in cash or in kind, to any person to induce such person to refer another person to a health care provider for the furnishing or arranging for the furnishing of any health care.
- Subsections 2 and 3 of this section shall not apply to a discount or other reduction in price obtained by a health care provider if the reduction in price is properly disclosed and appropriately reflected in the claim made by the health care provider to the health care payer, or any amount paid by an employer to an employee for employment in the provision of health care.
- Exceptions to the provisions of subsections 2 and 3 of this subsection shall be provided for as authorized in 42 U.S.C. Section 1320a-7b(3)(E), as may be from time to time amended, and regulations promulgated pursuant thereto.
- No person shall knowingly abuse a person receiving health care.
- A person who violates subsections 1 to 3 of this section is guilty of a class C felony upon his or her first conviction, and shall be guilty of a class B felony upon his or her second and subsequent convictions. Any person who has been convicted of such violations shall be referred to the Office of Inspector General within the United States Department of Health and Human Services. The person so referred shall be subject to the penalties provided for under 42 U.S.C. Chapter 7, Subchapter XI, Section 1320a-7. A prior conviction shall be pleaded and proven as provided by section 558.021. A person who violates subsection 6 of this section shall be guilty of a class C felony, unless the act involves no physical, sexual or emotional harm or injury and the value of the property involved is less than five hundred dollars, in which event a violation of subsection 6 of this section is a class A misdemeanor.
- Any natural person who willfully prevents, obstructs, misleads, delays, or attempts to prevent, obstruct, mislead, or delay the communication of information or records relating to a violation of sections 191.900 to 191.910 is guilty of a class D felony.
- Each separate false statement or false representation of a material fact proscribed by subsection 1 of this section or act proscribed by subsection 2 or 3 of this section shall constitute a separate offense and a separate violation of this section, whether or not made at the same or different times, as part of the same or separate episodes, as part of the same scheme or course of conduct, or as part of the same claim.
- In a prosecution pursuant to subsection 1 of this section, circumstantial evidence may be presented to demonstrate that a false statement or claim was knowingly made. Such evidence of knowledge may include but shall not be limited to the following:
(1) A claim for a health care payment submitted with the health care provider’s actual, facsimile, stamped, typewritten or similar signature on the claim for health care payment;
(2) A claim for a health care payment submitted by means of computer billing tapes or other electronic means;
(3) A course of conduct involving other false claims submitted to this or any other health care payer.
- Any person convicted of a violation of this section, in addition to any fines, penalties or sentences imposed by law, shall be required to make restitution to the federal and state governments, in an amount at least equal to that unlawfully paid to or by the person, and shall be required to reimburse the reasonable costs attributable to the investigation and prosecution pursuant to sections 191.900 to 191.910. All of such restitution shall be paid and deposited to the credit of the “MO HealthNet Fraud Reimbursement Fund”, which is hereby established in the state treasury. Moneys in the MO HealthNet fraud reimbursement fund shall be divided and appropriated to the federal government and affected state agencies in order to refund moneys falsely obtained from the federal and state governments. All of such cost reimbursements attributable to the investigation and prosecution shall be paid and deposited to the credit of the “MO HealthNet Fraud Prosecution Revolving Fund”, which is hereby established in the state treasury. Moneys in the MO HealthNet fraud prosecution revolving fund may be appropriated to the attorney general, or to any prosecuting or circuit attorney who has successfully prosecuted an action for a violation of sections 191.900 to 191.910 and been awarded such costs of prosecution, in order to defray the costs of the attorney general and any such prosecuting or circuit attorney in connection with their duties provided by sections 191.900 to 191.910. No moneys shall be paid into the MO HealthNet fraud protection revolving fund pursuant to this subsection unless the attorney general or appropriate prosecuting or circuit attorney shall have commenced a prosecution pursuant to this section, and the court finds in its discretion that payment of attorneys’ fees and investigative costs is appropriate under all the circumstances, and the attorney general and prosecuting or circuit attorney shall prove to the court those expenses which were reasonable and necessary to the investigation and prosecution of such case, and the court approves such expenses as being reasonable and necessary. Any moneys remaining in the MO HealthNet fraud reimbursement fund after division and appropriation to the federal government and affected state agencies shall be used to increase MO HealthNet provider reimbursement until it is at least one hundred percent of the Medicare provider reimbursement rate for comparable services. The provisions of section 33.080 notwithstanding, moneys in the MO HealthNet fraud prosecution revolving fund shall not lapse at the end of the biennium.
- A person who violates subsections 1 to 3 of this section shall be liable for a civil penalty of not less than five thousand dollars and not more than ten thousand dollars for each separate act in violation of such subsections, plus three times the amount of damages which the state and federal government sustained because of the act of that person, except that the court may assess not more than two times the amount of damages which the state and federal government sustained because of the act of the person, if the court finds:
(1) The person committing the violation of this section furnished personnel employed by the attorney general and responsible for investigating violations of sections 191.900 to 191.910 with all information known to such person about the violation within thirty days after the date on which the defendant first obtained the information;
(2) Such person fully cooperated with any government investigation of such violation; and
(3) At the time such person furnished the personnel of the attorney general with the information about the violation, no criminal prosecution, civil action, or administrative action had commenced with respect to such violation, and the person did not have actual knowledge of the existence of an investigation into such violation.
- Upon conviction pursuant to this section, the prosecution authority shall provide written notification of the conviction to all regulatory or disciplinary agencies with authority over the conduct of the defendant health care provider.
- The attorney general may bring a civil action against any person who shall receive a health care payment as a result of a false statement or false representation of a material fact made or caused to be made by that person. The person shall be liable for up to double the amount of all payments received by that person based upon the false statement or false representation of a material fact, and the reasonable costs attributable to the prosecution of the civil action. All such restitution shall be paid and deposited to the credit of the MO HealthNet fraud reimbursement fund, and all such cost reimbursements shall be paid and deposited to the credit of the MO HealthNet fraud prosecution revolving fund. No reimbursement of such costs attributable to the prosecution of the civil action shall be made or allowed except with the approval of the court having jurisdiction of the civil action. No civil action provided by this subsection shall be brought if restitution and civil penalties provided by subsections 11 and 12 of this section have been previously ordered against the person for the same cause of action.
- Any person who discovers a violation by himself or herself or such person’s organization and who reports such information voluntarily before such information is public or known to the attorney general shall not be prosecuted for a criminal violation.
Specific Remedies Authorized By Statute
Mo. Ann. Stat. § 191.908.2
(1) Reinstatement to the employee’s position without loss of seniority;
(2) Two times the amount of lost back pay;
(3) Interest on the back pay at the rate of one percent over the prime rate.