The False Claims Act is a federal law that imposes liability on individuals and businesses that defraud a federal agency or federal government program. Most often, the law is used to stop fraud and other improper billing practices by federal contractors. The law provides strong and comprehensive whistleblower protections. Employees have the right to file a lawsuit under the False Claims Act without facing retribution from their employer. Here, our Connecticut whistleblower lawyer provides an overview of employee rights under the federal False Claims Act.
The False Claims Act Empowers Whistleblowers to File a Qui Tam Lawsuit
Federal contracting is notoriously complex. Federal agencies often lack the resources to detect improper billing practices. One of the most important things to know about the False Claims Act is that the statute allows individual whistleblowers to file a lawsuit to stop contractor fraud or billing fraud on behalf of the federal government. This type of lawsuit is known as a qui tam claim. In many cases, qui tam whistleblower claims are filed by current or former employees of the defendant.
A Whistleblower May Be Entitled to an Award if a Qui Tam Claim is Successful.
To incentivize whistleblowers to take action to help stop fraud, the False Claims Act allows for a whistleblower award worth a portion of the actual financial recovery on behalf of taxpayers. If the federal government decides to intervene and take over a qui tam lawsuit, the whistleblower(s) may receive an award worth between 15 percent and 25 percent of the ultimate recovery. If the federal government never intervenes, the False Claim Act award may be between 25 percent and 30 percent of the ultimate recovery. There is no statutory “cap” on whistleblower awards under the False Claims Act. Six, seven, and even eight figure whistleblower awards have been issued.
Employers Cannot Retaliate Against a False Claims Act Whistleblower
The False Claims Act also provides strong legal protections to employees who voluntarily come forward and file a qui tam lawsuit to try to stop fraud. Employers are strictly prohibited from taking an adverse action against an employer who exercises their rights under the False Claims Act.
You cannot be fired, suspended, demoted, harassed, or otherwise punished for filing a qui tam lawsuit or for supporting another employee’s qui tam claim. As a whistleblower, you are protected against retaliation by an employer.
If you faced unlawful retaliation after filing a qui tam lawsuit—or otherwise engaged in a protected activity under the federal False Claims Act—you have the right to bring a wrongful retaliation claim directly against your employer. A whistleblower protection attorney can help.
Call Our Connecticut and Massachusetts Whistleblower Protection Lawyer Today
At Hayber, McKenna & Dinsmore, LLC, we are justice-driven advocates for employees. With deep experience handling whistleblower claims, our attorneys help workers navigate the False Claims Act. Call us at (413) 785-1400 or contact us online to arrange your confidential initial consultation. We provide whistleblower representation to employees in Connecticut and Massachusetts.