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Can a False Claims Act Law Firm Protect Their Client’s Identity?

False Claims Act Law Firm

False Claims Act Law FirmOne of the most important steps in blowing the whistle on fraud is finding a False Claims Act law firm that knows the tricks of the trade. Think of a new restaurant opening in New York City. If the owner knows the details about design and atmosphere, as well as providing great tasting food, it could make all the difference to their success. Planning a successful lawsuit means knowing all the twists and turns that can derail the project. It also includes careful planning to avoid those pitfalls.

False Claims Act Law Firms Have Experience in Protecting Clients

One of the most important aspects of a False Claims Act action is protecting the person who brings the case to the attention of the government. This person, known as a whistleblower, can face serious consequences in retaliation for their courage. Most of these penalties are in violation of the False Claims Act, but you need an attorney who knows how to apply the law.

Most whistleblowers want their identity to remain concealed. When an attorney brings a claim to the District Court, the government begins an investigation. During the time they are seeking out the facts, confidentiality is guaranteed by law. In fact, the company under investigation is not even aware of the process. As long as the whistleblower does not expose his involvement, his part in the action remains private.

A False Claims Act violation brought to court is a “qui tam” act. Qui tam roughly translates to “on behalf of the king.” It means the private individual is filing suit on behalf of the government. One of the provisions of the qui tam law is keeping the identity of the relator, or whistleblower, confidential. If the relator reveals his involvement, the court can dismiss the lawsuit. This confidentiality stipulation extends to the media. It is of the utmost importance to avoid speaking to anyone about the investigation.

What Other Protections Can a False Claims Act Law Firm Provide?

When the government indicts a corporation for fraud, people expect retaliation. After all, if there was not a fear of defrauding the United States government, why would harm to an employee be out of the realm of possibility? They say power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely. When the people running a multi-billion dollar scam have skated on their criminal activity for years, they see themselves as having absolute power.

Qui tam laws are specific about protecting the identity of the whistleblower during the investigation. Once a case goes to court, however, these protections stop. The relator who brings forth the case has no more protection than the defendant in a public hearing. At this point, the lawyer’s work to protect his client takes off in earnest.

Can A False Claims Act Law Firm Prevent Job Loss for the Whistleblower?

Losing a job as a result of a fraud report is a valid concern. Often employees in a position giving them knowledge of the crime have worked for years for that level of pay. When the employee has a family to sustain, the fear is even more intense.

The good news is that the law provides ample protection for a whistleblower. The provisions are close to all-encompassing. Think of how a bumper-to-bumper warranty provides protection for every aspect of a new car. It covers mechanical and electrical parts, maintenance and even everyday wear and tear. With a guarantee like that, you wouldn’t feel afraid to buy the car.

A whistleblower with an experienced lawyer doesn’t need to fear moving forward either. The law provides complete protection for the whistleblower. The government is aware they would not know about most fraud without the public’s help. These laws make it safer and easier to come forward.

The law provides protection against loss of job or benefits. A disgruntled employer cannot withhold promotions or pay raises. The guilty party cannot destroy the employee’s reputation. An employer cannot force or deny a transfer to another location. In fact, the law prevents harassment in every form. A False Claims Act firm knows this and will take steps to keep the relator safe from harm.

Even though there are strict laws preventing job loss for the whistleblower, it is important to have a safety net while things proceed. Your attorney will be able to get your job reinstated. But there is no real guarantee you won’t go through some unemployment while this part of the legal action moves along.

Even with the potential problems in bringing a fraud case forward, an employee who has knowledge of the crime must report it. If they fail to do so, they increase their involvement. This secrecy also increases their personal liability.

To file a fraud case, you need an attorney. Choosing an attorney who focuses on False Claims Act cases is your wisest move. Contact the experienced False Claims Act law firm at Bothwell Law Group by calling 770.643.1606 today.

Does the Law Protecting Whistleblowers Really Offer Enough Protection?

Law Protecting Whistleblowers

Law Protecting WhistleblowersAre you familiar with the False Claims Act and the law protecting whistleblowers? If not, you should be.

Before you consider filing a qui tam suit, it’s a good idea to understand what the law does and does not cover. This includes additional ramifications you may not have thought of, and for which you have little recourse.

Specific Protections Under the False Claims Act

In 1986, the government added specific employee whistleblower protection to the False Claims Act in order to prevent employers from using the threat of retaliation to keep whistleblowers quiet. It was also meant to assure those aware of fraud that there would be no retaliation in the event they reported it.

These clauses offer protection from all of the following as a direct result of filing a False Claims lawsuit:

  1. Being fired
  2. Demoted
  3. Harassed
  4. Discriminated against

The exception to these protections is compliance officers and other employees who bear the responsibility for investigating fraud. They must offer a higher degree of proof, including that they threatened the employer with a qui tam lawsuit or other government investigation.

In the event you can prove any of the above in a court of law, you are entitled to compensation and relief. This can include:

  • Reinstatement
  • Double back pay
  • Special compensation for litigation costs, such as court and attorney fees
  • Other damages

Note: State-specific laws that provide different or additional remedies can override protection and relief you might receive in certain states. Also, the statute of limitations for filing a False Claims Act retaliation case is equal to that of that of the state statute that most closely resembles the legislation; it is not universal.

Other Considerations in Filing a Qui Tam Lawsuit

Now that we’ve discussed what is covered, it’s a good idea to talk about what isn’t. This is going to have a major effect on your life. Are you prepared to have your co-workers learn you’re the reason the company is under government investigation? If the answer is no, then reconsider. Even though the original filing of a lawsuit is anonymous, it won’t stay that way forever. If people end up losing jobs or getting fired as a result of your actions, they are going to hold you responsible.

Another area to consider is your industry. Are you prepared to be blacklisted? You should be. While your employer can’t retaliate against you, you might find it extremely uncomfortable to remain at the company for other reasons. But if you work in a highly specialized industry, you may find other companies reluctant to bring you on. Even though you did the right thing, and even though your company was in the wrong, they might fear what you would do if they hired you. You present an unknown risk many won’t be willing to take.

Final Thoughts on Qui Tam Suits

If the ramifications of social responsibility, public health, or your conscience are great enough, you will find these considerations easy to overcome. Alternately, if the size of the payout is large enough, you may not have to worry about working ever again. But if you have even the tiniest bit of hesitation, it’s best to talk things through with your lawyer, crafting a strategy to align best with your goals.

If you’re interested in learning more, contact the skilled attorneys at Bothwell Law Group by calling 770.643.1606, and ask about the law protecting whistleblowers.