The federal government is defrauded out of billions of dollars each year. To combat this issue, the government relies heavily on citizens to report information concerning fraud. People who report fraud to the government are known as whistleblowers. In this article, we discuss whistleblowers and the specific protections they enjoy under state and federal law. If you have information concerning fraud against the government, please contact a qui tam attorney for assistance.
A whistleblower is a person who reports information concerning certain types of fraud to the authorities. The government relies on whistleblowers to help combat fraud. To incentivize people to come forward with this type of information, the government offers significant financial compensation to whistleblowers whose cases are successful. A whistleblower may be an employee, supplier, client, contractor, or any person who learns of fraudulent acts committed against the government.
Are Whistleblowers Protected from Retaliation?
One risk of becoming a whistleblower is retaliation. Luckily, there are several laws that protect whistleblowers from retaliation by their employers. The laws that apply to a whistleblower’s case depend on the type of information reported and the circumstances surrounding the fraudulent activity. Whistleblower retaliation laws include:
- The False Claims Act: The False Claims Act is a law that permits individuals to report fraud committed against the federal government. The False Claims Act contains special provisions, known as qui tam provisions, that prohibit employers from retaliating against employees who report fraud. Protections under the False Claims Act include double back pay, job reinstatement, and special damages sustained by an employee due to retaliation.
- The Whistleblower Protection Act: The Whistleblower Protection Act protects federal employees who report government employer misconduct. Under the Whistleblower Protection Act, a federal employee who is retaliated against by a federal employer for becoming a whistleblower may report the employer’s actions. An employee who reports employer retaliation under the act may be eligible for reinstatement, back pay, legal fees, benefits, and additional costs. Government employers may also face discipline for retaliating against whistleblowers.
- State Laws: In addition to the federal laws above, several states have their own laws that protect whistleblowers from retaliation. These laws address things like discrimination, workplace safety, and wage and hour laws. However, state laws vary in the protection they afford whistleblowers. For example, some states only protect public employees from retaliation. Therefore, for guidance on state whistleblower protection laws, potential whistleblowers should seek the guidance of an experienced qui tam attorney.
Contact a Qui Tam Attorney
Do you have information that a person or entity has committed fraud against the federal government? If so, you may be entitled to significant financial compensation via a qui tam lawsuit. If you wish to pursue financial compensation via a qui tam lawsuit, you need an experienced qui tam lawsuit attorney on your side. Please contact one of our experienced qui tam lawsuit attorneys today to schedule a consultation.