Knowledge base

Whistleblowers are usually long-time loyal employees, who sit fairly high in the corporate organization and have a strong moral constitution. The primary motivation of the whistleblower is to correct wrongdoing.

Whistleblower Protection

There is good news for potential whistleblowers: If you work for a company or organization that you believe to be defrauding the government, and you file a qui tam lawsuit, the law protects you from employer retaliation. The federal False Claims Act is specifically designed to encourage citizens to report fraud, as well as to protect them from retaliatory actions. Such protection also extends to a contractor or agent. If you or one of your family members is fired, demoted, suspended, threatened, or otherwise discriminated against because you tried to stop your employer from cheating the federal government, you have standing to sue. Here are some things you need to know:

    1. You have to be able to prove that you made efforts to stop or correct improper actions that violate the False Claims Act.It is not required that you tell your employer that you are planning on filing a qui tam lawsuit. Title 31 U.S.C. Section 3730(h) prohibits retaliatory actions against any employee, former employee, contractor, or agent who takes lawful actions in furtherance of a False Claims Act. The types of retaliation action covered by the statute include discharge, demotion, suspension, threats, or harassment.
    1. The protection of the retaliation statute applies if the whistleblower believes in good faith that his employer is violating the False Claims Act, whether or not they are correct in their belief.31 U.S.C. 3730(h)(1) requires that the employee was engaged in protected activity, that the employee was retaliated against because of that activity, and that the whistleblower’s employer knew he/she was engaged in protected activity. This protected activity also includes the process of investigating to determine whether fraud occurred. It is not required that an employer be told that a whistleblower has hired an attorney or intends to file a qui tam lawsuit. Rather, the employer can be sufficiently notified if you as a whistleblower tell your manager or supervisor that you are concerned about possible healthcare fraud.
    1. You may be able to recover damages from your employer for the losses you have actually sustained.“Being made whole” addresses the kind of damages you may expect, like double your back pay, plus interest, if you have been fired. You also would be entitled to reinstatement with the same seniority. The False Claims Act anti-retaliation section specifically provides remedies under 31 U.S.C. Section 3730(h)(2) that are available to a whistleblower which include reinstatement with the same seniority status that the whistleblower would have had prior to the discrimination, two times the amount of back pay, interest on the back pay, and compensation for any special damages sustained as a result of the discrimination, including litigation costs and reasonable attorneys’ fees.
    1. You will not be entitled to “punitive” damages, but you may be entitled to compensation for pain and suffering as a result of any alleged emotional stress you have experienced.
    1. Be sure that you have “reasonable” grounds for alleging that your employer is committing fraud.What is “reasonable”? By way of example, if you have seen a pattern of falsified billing records, if you have proof that government entities are routinely billed for services or products they have not received, then you have “reasonable” indications that your employer is committing ongoing fraud. To prove fraud, you must be able to demonstrate a pattern that exhibits a conscious attempt to deceive the government. Do not confuse a desire to “get even” with your ability to produce actual proof.
    1. Act on proof, not suspicion. Do not let your emotions cause you to jump into a lawsuit because you do not like your supervisor or because you are otherwise unhappy at your workplace.
    1. Seek professional advice immediately. Potential whistleblowers should consult a qualified law firm who can provide guidance about gathering evidence and navigating potential minefields. While you think there may be smoke, it does not always mean that there will be enough to light a legal fire. It is just as important for you to find out that you probably do not have a case, as it is for you to learn that you do.
    1. If you have grounds to file a whistleblower retaliation claim, you might also have grounds to file a False Claims Act or qui tam lawsuit based on your employer’s submission of false claims to the federal government.

Nolan Auerbach & White views its clients as heroes for having the courage to step forward and become whistleblowers in healthcare fraud cases, and we will fight for our clients who have been retaliated against.

“The firm has a great team of brilliant minds that work together.”


OUR PROMISE When it feels like you are facing insurmountable odds, we will be there for you!

We know the struggles whistleblowers face before contacting us, and know that deciding to be a whistleblower can be difficult. We will be with you every step of the way, strong and proud, helping you stand up for what is right.

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