Whistleblowers are individuals who report corporate misconduct. Federal laws protect people who bring violations of business or employment laws to light. Companies cannot legally harass or fire a whistleblower.
A common issue that whistleblowers report is a violation of a government contract by a corporation or individuals. These violations can include:
• Corporate fraud, including billing fraud.
• Violations of the Occupational Safety and Health Act.
• Using or selling hazardous materials without appropriate caution.
• Failing to meet promised goals.
Qui Tam is a legal doctrine that is an abbreviation for a Latin phrase meaning "to sue in the name of the king as well as one's self".
Qui Tam is a provision of the False Claims Act, a federal law which allows private citizen whistleblowers to file a lawsuit on behalf of the U.S. Government against companies or individuals who have committed fraud against the U.S. Governments. The False Claims Act is intended to encourage people to report fraud against the government by offering certain benefits for doing so. If successful, a whistleblower may share in the revenue recovered from the filing of a lawsuit. A person who files a Qui Tam lawsuit under the False Claims Act is known as a "whistleblower" or "relator".
The penalties for committing fraud against the federal government include a fine of $5,000 - $10,000, in addition to three times the damages the government has suffered. As the relator, you may be entitled to certain benefits, such as:
• 15-30% of the damages awarded to the government;
• Compensation for your attorney's fees; and
• Protection against retaliation from your employer.
The purpose of enacting the False Claims Act was to help the government identify and prosecute government procurement and program fraud and recover lost revenue.
A person who has information about fraudulent practices being committed against the federal or state government may file a lawsuit on behalf of the government, against companies or individuals who have committed the wrong.
Violations of workers' rights, such as discrimination or hostile work environments are not considered violations of the False Claims Act and should generally be reported to your state's Department of Labor. In Texas, this department is known as the Texas Workforce Commission. In addition to contacting them, it may also be best for you to file a suit against your employer.
If you have evidence that your employer has committed any act of fraud against the federal or state government, you need to take action. Call Thering McCarley PLLC for a free consultation to determine if you qualify as a whistleblower.