False Claims Act Retaliation
The False Claims Act (FCA) prohibits individuals and companies from defrauding the federal government by making it illegal to submit claims for payment that involve certain kinds of deception or misrepresentation. Whistleblowers who work for government contractors, or other entities that receive government funds through Medicare/Medicaid, defense contracts, or other programs, perform a crucial public service on behalf of all taxpayers when they oppose fraud. Many fraudulent schemes that violate the FCA involve a high volume of claims, sometimes amounting to millions of dollars of fraud against taxpayer funds. In addition to the financial incentives provided to whistleblowers under the FCA, the statute makes it illegal for employers to retaliate against employees who have opposed certain fraudulent activities.
How Does The False Claims Act Retaliation Provision Work?
The anti-retaliation provision of the False Claims Act protects employees, contractors and other agents of a company from being "discharged, demoted, suspended, threatened, harassed, or in any other manner discriminated against in the terms and conditions of employment by his or her employer" because the employee, contractor, or agent investigated, reported or sought to stop a company from engaging in practices which defraud the United States government.
To prove that a company retaliated against an employee, contractor, or other agent in violation of 31 U.S.C. §3730(h), an individual must demonstrate that: (1) she engaged in protected activity; and (2) that she was discriminated against because of her protected activity. An employee, contractor, or other agent engages in “protected activity” in the context of False Claims Act retaliation when he or she opposes the company’s attempt to get a false or fraudulent claim paid or approved by the Government, and where that opposition to fraud “reasonably could lead to a viable FCA action,” or when litigation is a reasonable possibility. Investigatory efforts short of filing suit may still constitute protected activity for purposes of the anti-retaliation provision. To demonstrate that she was discriminated against “because of” conduct in furtherance of a False Claims Act suit, an individual must show that her company had knowledge of the protected activity and that its retaliation was motivated, at least in part, by the individual’s engaging in protected activity. An employee, contractor, or agent may bring his or her FCA retaliation claim in U.S. federal district court and has up to three years after the date of the retaliation to initiate litigation.
The remedies available to a successful plaintiff are generally designed to "make the employee whole." Possible relief for an individual who has been retaliated against includes: (1) reinstatement with the same seniority status that employee, contractor, or agent would have had but for the discrimination; (2) two times the amount of back pay and interest on the back pay; and (3) compensation for any special damages sustained as a result of the discrimination, including litigation costs and reasonable attorneys’ fees. Some courts have concluded that a successful litigant is also eligible to receive compensatory damages.
Why Hire KMB For Your False Claims Act Retaliation Case?
At Katz, Marshall & Banks LLP, we are experienced in handling retaliation claims and have expertise in understanding complex fraudulent schemes against the federal government. Drawing on years of experience in employment negotiation and litigation, we strive for resolution of our clients’ retaliation claims that brings closure to a stressful ordeal and, where possible, allows for positive movement forward in their careers. If you have faced retaliation for investigating, opposing, or reporting the fraudulent activity of your employer, contact the experienced whistleblower lawyers at Katz, Marshall & Banks, LLP. Your communications with us are confidential and without charge or further obligation.