Whistleblower, or qui tam lawsuits, play an important role in our country. These cases empower employees and others who have information about illegal activity to step forward. In addition to helping to make the world a better place, these individuals also stand to gain financially if the information they provide helps the government build a case and recoup lost funds. This is because the individual who brought the information can receive a portion of any recouped funds or winnings.
In a recent example, an individual who had inside information that helped the government build a successful claim against Deutsche Bank was awarded a chunk of the government’s court winnings. And a hefty chunk it was — the individual got about $200 million for the role they played in the case.
The story serves as an opportunity to remind those who are in similar situations of the benefits of coming forward. Taking this step is not always easy, as fear of retaliation, though illegal, is reasonable. The benefits of taking that step can include:
- Accountability. These cases often involve big actors, like the global banking network noted above, who are cheating the system. Information that can help the government build their case can go a long way towards holding the bad actor responsible for their wrongdoing. Allowing a single individual to be a veritable David against these Goliaths.
- Preservation. In some instances, following an employer’s expectations can mean that they are asking you to break the law. In these situations, coming forward with the information can serve as a means of self-preservation.
- Reform. The case can ultimately fuel deeper corporate reform and lead to true change for the better within your community.
There are rules and regulations in place to help protect those who step forward with information and help to build a qui tam lawsuit. It is important to take steps to help better ensure an employer does not violate these rights and use the law to hold those accountable who do.