From our offices in the Detroit area, Akeel & Valentine, PLC serves clients nationwide.

From our offices in the Detroit area, Akeel & Valentine, PLC serves clients nationwide.

How does the government protect qui tam whistleblowers?

On Behalf of | Mar 2, 2022 | Qui Tam

If you discover that your employer is committing fraud against the U.S. federal government, you may consider bringing a suit called a qui tam action. This would allow the government to recover money lost due to the fraudulent activities of your employer. Before you do so, you may worry about whether the law will protect your actions as it would for any other whistleblower.

The False Claims Act allows people to bring qui tam actions. This law does not reference whistleblowers, but it does address “relators.” A relator is simply an older term for a whistleblower, so if you bring a qui tam suit, you have an entitlement to protection under federal law.

False Claim Act protections

The National Whistleblower Center explains that the False Claims Act authorizes the government to carry out necessary actions to compensate a whistleblower in the event of retaliation. If your employer fires you, a court may require your employer to reinstate you. If you lose pay, you might receive double the amount back.

In the event your employer limits your worker privileges or outright fires you, you might consider bringing legal action but fear it will cost you a lot of money. Remember that the relief you may receive, in addition to back pay, might also include compensation for your litigation expenses and payment of your attorney fees.

Other whistleblower protections

It may not be entirely clear if the federal courts will grant you the protection you want in your qui tam case. The courts do not always arrive at the same conclusion in qui tam cases, so you cannot judge your outcome strictly by what another whistleblower receives.

Fortunately, the state of Michigan has its own laws against workplace discrimination and retaliation, giving you other options if you are not certain about the prospects of winning a remedy under federal law. In sum, there are different laws to seek damages under if you blow the whistle on illegal employer behavior.