California and the federal government have laws related to whistleblowing, including laws designed to protect the whistleblower.
Enacted in 1863, the Qui Tam provision of the False Claims Act is one of the most powerful whistleblower protection laws in the United States. It remains a primary tool of the federal government in the fight against fraud.
A Qui Tam lawsuit is a whistleblower case in which the whistleblower can receive a reward if government funds are recovered. Under the False Claims Act, anyone who submits false claims to the government is subject to serious penalties. Whistleblowers who report wrongdoing against the state or federal government may receive a percentage of recovered damages.
The False Claims Act allows anyone to file a lawsuit against anyone who intentionally defrauds the government.
The types of fraud claims that are likely in Qui Tam cases include the following:
- Medicare and Medicaid Fraud
- Defense Contractor Fraud
- procurement fraud
- False certifications and information
- Grant or Program Fraud
In California, there are protections for whistleblowers. California whistleblowers and Qui tam plaintiffs are protected by the False Claims Act and State and Federal Whistleblower Laws. These protections include:
- Qui tam cases are investigated “under seal,” which means that employees can report illegal activities without revealing the investigation or their identity.
- Employers are prohibited from retaliating against whistleblowers.
- Employers may not retaliate against employees who refuse to participate in illegal or unethical activities.
- If a verdict or settlement is reached in a Qui tam case, the whistleblower could receive up to 30% of the amount recovered.
Reporting illegal activity is the right thing to do, but it’s risky. If you witness illicit or fraudulent activity, it is best to contact a whistleblower protection attorney before taking action.
The Aiman-Smith & Marcy team is here to protect your rights and help you fight against illegal activity.