Washington, D.C. Qui Tam Attorneys
Besides offering financial incentives, a key way that the government encourages whistleblowers to report fraud is by offering special legal protections. The two most important protections the False Claims Act affords to whistleblowers are protection from retaliation and conditional anonymity.
Protecting Whistleblowers From Retaliation
Most whistleblowers in qui tam actions are reporting on fraud that has been committed by their employer or boss. If this employer suspends, demotes, threatens, or fires the person for actions related to their whistleblower lawsuit, subsection (h) of the False Claims Act allows whistleblowers to file a separate case against their employer. In retaliation lawsuits, any damages recovered are paid directly to the whistleblower. No percentage will go to the government.
However, in order to ensure you are fully protected under subsection (h), it is important that you make your whistleblower lawyer aware of any past, present, or future possibility for retaliation. Additionally, be sure to let your attorney know if your employment status changes during either the investigation or the prosecution of your qui tam action, so they can include a subsection (h) claim in your whistleblower complaint.
Qui tam defendants who violate this law can be held liable for “special damages,” including:
- Double the amount of any back-pay owed to the whistleblower
- Interest on the amount of back-pay
- Re-instatement without the employee’s loss of seniority
Subsection (h) claims are often settled long after the whistleblower lawsuit has been resolved. The experienced qui tam attorneys at Chaikin, Sherman, Cammarata & Siegel, P.C. can help you pursue your retaliation claim even without government intervention.
As a way of pre-emptively avoiding retaliation, the False Claims Act also provides whistleblowers with conditional anonymity. For at least 60 days after you file your qui tam lawsuit, your identity will remain confidential and under seal. Only the Court and the government’s team of investigators will know who you are.
If the investigation takes longer than sixty days, the Court can extend the Order to keep your identity a secret. However, the Court’s seal and your anonymity are not legally guaranteed to stay in place for over sixty days.
If you have specific information about a fraudulent claim for payment against the government, please contact our team of experienced attorneys at Chaikin, Sherman, Cammarata & Siegel, P.C. for a confidential consultation. We can help you investigate the situation and protect your rights.