What Is Qui Tam?

Under what is commonly known as whistleblower law, a private citizen can bring a qui tam action against a business or individual that he or she believes is defrauding the government. “Whistleblowers,” also known as “relators” bring lawsuits under the qui tam provision of the federal False Claims Act on behalf of both themselves and the government, though the government may intervene in the suit (become a party to the suit).

When Does a Whistleblower Have a Case?

There are many varieties of whistleblower actions, from those involving fraudulent health care claims to employee exposure to toxic substances. In essence, if an entity has filed either a factually or legally false claim with the government, it can be held accountable under the qui tam provision of the False Claims Act.

How Much Money Does a Whistleblower Get?

Generally, a whistleblower with a successful case can receive between 15 and 30 percent of the government’s recovery. The percentage depends on the strength of the case and whether the government intervened in the suit.

Can An Employer Retaliate Against a Whistleblower?

No. It is against the law for an employer to retaliate against a False Claims Act whistleblower. This includes firing, laying off, demoting, harassing or otherwise taking retaliatory action against the whistleblower employee for filing a qui tam claim.

Are Whistleblower Claims Difficult to Win?

Like other legal cases, the strength of a whistleblower claim depends on the facts of the case. Before a whistleblower files the case in federal court, he or she must disclose the fraud to the Department of Justice. The government will then have time to investigate and decide whether to intervene. If the government decides not to intervene, however, a whistleblower can still call a lawyer to continue the qui tam case.

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