If an employee has evidence that their employer has defrauded the government, they can bring a Qui Tam lawsuit on behalf of the government.
This is, naturally, not an easy step to take — and the government knows that it can be difficult for any employee to step forward and talk about their employer’s misdeeds. That’s why qui tam actions and whistleblower protections exist.
What does “qui tam” mean?
Qui tam translates as “in the name of the king.” Qui tam is provided for under the False Claims Act (FCA). If an employee brings a qui tam lawsuit against their employer on behalf of the U.S. Government, then the government may or may not join the suit. Any person or entity that has knowledge of fraud against federal contracts or programs may file a qui tam lawsuit.
What rewards could the whistleblower receive?
The qui tam provisions are meant to incentivize those that have insider knowledge of corporate fraud against the federal government. For their actions, they can be rewarded monetarily. A whistleblower stands to receive 15% to 50% of the amount recovered by the government, depending on the level of involvement of the whistleblower in the recovery.
Bringing a qui tam action can be both challenging and rewarding. The Federal Government has placed this incentive out there as a way to discourage companies from fraud and as a way to motivate citizens to do the right thing in coming forward.
There are many aspects to consider if planning on taking this opportunity. It can be helpful to know more about your rights under employment law, including the protections offered to whistleblowers against wrongful termination.