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What is the purpose of the False Claims Act whistleblower protection provision?

 

False Claims Act Whistleblower Protection

false claims act whistleblower protection law The whistleblower protection provision of the False Claims Act encourages private citizens to act as whistleblowers when they suspect fraud on the government.  The False Claims Act anti-retaliation provision protects both whistleblowing to the government and internal whistleblowing.  Retaliation can derail a whistleblower’s career and cause a whistleblower to suffer economic losses, emotional distress, reputational harm, and alienation.

As Congress recognized when it strengthened the qui tam provisions of the False Claims Act, “few individuals will expose fraud if they fear their disclosures will lead to harassment, demotion, loss of employment, or any other form of retaliation” and therefore the FCA “seeks to halt companies and individuals from using the threat of economic retaliation to silence whistleblowers, as well as assure those who may be considering exposing fraud that they are legally protected from retaliatory acts.” S. Rep. No. 99-345, at 34 (1986).

That is why the FCA provides a wide range of damages, including uncapped compensatory damages and double back pay (double lost wages).  Courts can also award prevailing FCA whistleblowers front pay for lost future income.  And other federal and state whistleblower protection laws may provide additional remedies, including punitive damages.

If you are seeking legal representation in a False Claims Act whistleblower retaliation case, call our False Claims Act whistleblower retaliation lawyers today for a free consultation at (202) 262-8959.

 

How the False Claims Act Protects Whistleblowers

To learn more about  the False Claims Act whistleblower protection law, see our FCA whistleblower retaliation FAQ, which answers these questions:

False Claims Act Whistleblower Retaliation

False Claims Act Whistleblower Retaliation Remedies and Damages

False Claims Act Qui Tam Whistleblower Protection Law

A qui tam whistleblower can be eligible for a large recovery for reporting fraud on the government.  But there are obstacles to proving FCA liability and recovering a qui tam award or relator share, and there are unique rules and procedures that govern qui tam whistleblower cases.  Therefore, it is critical to retain an experienced False Claims Act whistleblower lawyer to maximize your recovery.  This FAQ provides an overview of some of the key aspects of False Claims Act claims.

FAQs About False Claims Act Whistleblower Protection Law

False Claims Act Whistleblower Protection Law

Legislative History of 1986 False Claims Act Whistleblower Protection Provision

Senate Judiciary Committee Report 110-507 accompanying S. 2041 states:

The 1986 Amendments included Section 3730(h) which provides 
a cause of action for individuals who faced retaliation in 
response to bringing forth FCA claims of fraud against the 
Government.\91\ Congress included this provision in the 1986 
Amendments because, as the Committee noted, it recognized 
``that few individuals will expose fraud if they fear their 
disclosures will lead to harassment, demotion, loss of 
employment, or any other form of retaliation.'' \92\ While this 
provision was designed to protect employees from employer 
retaliation, over the past 20 years courts have limited this 
protection through various decisions narrowly interpreting the 
definition of ``employee'' and thus leaving contractors and 
subcontractors open to retaliation.
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    \91\ S. Rep. No. 99-345 supra note 1, at 5299.
    \92\ Id.
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    For example, the Third and Fourth Circuits have held that 
an independent contractor is not protected under section 
3730(h).\93\ To correct this loophole, section 5 clarifies 
section 3730(h) by simply including the terms ``government 
contractor, or agent'' in addition to the term ``employee.'' 
The Committee believes that it is necessary to include these 
additional terms to assist individuals who are not technically 
employees within the typical employer-employee relationship, 
but nonetheless have a contractual or agent relationship with 
an employer. The Committee believes this is a vitally important 
clarification that respects the spirit and intent of the 1986 
Amendments while offering whistleblower protections to 
contractors and agents who may come across fraud against the 
Government and report it under the FCA.
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    \93\ See United States ex rel. Watson v. Connecticut Gen. Life 
Ins., 2004 U.S. App. LEXIS 1736 (3d Cir. 2004); Vessell v. DPS Assocs. 
of Charleston, Inc., 148 F.3d 407 (4th Cir. 1998).
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False Claims Act Whistleblower Protection Attorneys

The experienced False Claims Act whistleblower protection attorneys at leading whistleblower law firm Zuckerman Law have substantial experience representing whistleblowers disclosing fraud and other wrongdoing at government contractors and grantees.  To schedule a free preliminary consultation with our False Claims Act whistleblower lawyers, click here or call us at 202-262-8959.

 

 

Our experience includes:

  • Representing qui tam relators in False Claims Act actions concerning off-label marketing, false billing, and education loan fraud (inflating entitlement to interest rate subsidies).
  • Representing whistleblowers in NDAA retaliation claims before the Department of Defense, and Department of Homeland Security, Department of Justice Offices of Inspectors General.
  • Litigating False Claims Act retaliation cases.
  • Representing whistleblowers disclosing fraud on the government in Congressional investigations.
  • Training judges, senior Office of Inspector General officials, and federal law enforcement about whistleblower protections.

In addition, we have substantial experience representing whistleblowers under the Whistleblower Protection Act (WPA) and enforcing the WPA, the law that the NDAA whistleblower provisions are based upon.

Before hiring a lawyer for a high-stakes whistleblower case, assess the lawyer’s reputation, prior experience representing whistleblowers, knowledge of whistleblower laws and prior results.  And consider the experience of other whistleblowers working with that attorney.  See our client testimonials by clicking here.

Zuckerman Law has written extensively about whistleblower protections for employees of government contractors and grantees, including the following articles and blog posts:

 

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Jason Zuckerman, Principal of Zuckerman Law, litigates whistleblower retaliation, qui tam, wrongful discharge, and other employment-related claims. He is rated 10 out of 10 by Avvo, was recognized by Washingtonian magazine as a “Top Whistleblower Lawyer” in 2015 and selected by his peers to be included in The Best Lawyers in America® and in SuperLawyers.