Doing your patriotic duty by exposing institutions and individuals that have cheated the government can be unnerving. Many whistleblowers potentially face severe retaliation because they are exposing information that could cause those who have committed fraud to face prison time and ruined reputations, pay back three times the amount of money obtained fraudulently, and force their company to close, or go bankrupt.
There is a lot at stake for all parties involved. That is why the federal government offers employees who blow the whistle protections under the federal False Claims Act.
But whistleblowers have not always been protected by a strengthened federal False Claims Act, like that of today.
“We have decades of data showing that the government cannot stop fraud by itself. Hence the importance of whistleblowers. Hence the importance of the False Claims Act.”
— Senator Chuck Grassley (Author of the 1986 False Claims Act Amendments)
The current federal False Claims Act states that any employee who is discharged, demoted, harassed, or discriminated against because they filed a whistleblower/qui tam claim is entitled to be “made whole.” This includes but is not limited to:
- Reinstatement to the same seniority employment status
- Up to twice the amount of their back pay, plus interest
- Compensation for any special damages including litigation costs and reasonable attorney’s fees
It also affords the whistleblower (referred to as the “relator” in a qui tam suit) to receive from 15% to 30% of what the government recovers.
Having an experienced whistleblower/qui tam attorney can potentially increase your False Claims Act protections.