I Want to be a Whistleblower but am Afraid I’ll Lose My Job

If you have information that your employer is committing fraud against the government, you might be considering filing a whistleblower claim. If you want to be a whistleblower but you're concerned that you might be fired or face other forms of retaliation from your employer, the Kansas City lawyers at Brady & Associates can help.

The False Claims Act protects whistleblowers from harassment, discharge, demotion, and other forms of retaliation for investigating, reporting, or filing cases that allege fraud against the government. However, the False Claims Act is complicated and has many nuanced components and requirements. You should only pursue a whistleblower action with the assistance of skilled and experienced False Claims Act lawyer.

The False Claims Act Protects Whistleblowers

Whistleblowers are protected under the False Claims Act from retaliation by their employer for uncovering or reporting fraud against the government. In fact, the False Claims Act provides some of the strongest whistleblower protection in the country. Specifically, the False Claims Act protects whistleblowers by imposing severe penalties on employers who harass, discharge, demote, or otherwise discriminate against employees who investigate or pursue False Claims actions against their employers. Employees who are discriminated against for investigating or reporting potentially fraudulent activities may be entitled to:

  • Reinstatement
  • Double back pay with interest
  • Compensation for any special damages, including litigation costs and reasonable attorneys’ fees

In 1986, legislators added employee whistleblower protection to the False Claims Act to prevent employers from using the threat of retaliation to silence whistleblowers, and to assure people who are considering exposing fraud that they will be legally protected from retaliation. Congress specifically stated that employee protection extends to qui tam whistleblowers, people assisting qui tam whistleblowers, and anyone working with the government “in furtherance of” an action under the False Claims Act. In 2009, Congress further extended False Claims Act protections to contractors and agents. As a result, federal law prohibits retaliatory action against employees who file qui tam actions, as well as those who assist them.

In addition to protection under the False Claims Act, most states have wrongful discharge and other employment laws that provide relief and other remedies for discrimination or harassment of whistleblowers.

False Claims Protections Only Apply to Specific Activities

To be protected as a whistleblower under the False Claims Act, the whistleblower must engage in protected conduct. The whistleblower's employer must have had notice that the whistleblower was participating in protected conduct, either by taking action in furtherance of a qui tam claim, or by assisting in an investigation or action brought by the government. Finally, the whistleblower must be able to show that the suspension, demotion, firing, harassment, threat, or other retaliatory action was in response to the protected acts. False Claims Act protections extend to whistleblowers whose allegations could support an action under the False Claims Act, even if the case is never filed.

For more information about whistleblower lawsuits and the False Claims Act, contact the Kansas City whistleblower attorneys at Brady & Associates for a confidential evaluation of your case. Call us at (913) 696-0925, or complete our online information form.