Whistleblowers are individuals or groups that report about possible wrongdoings of a particular organization or company. Often times, whistleblowing involves an employee reporting employer misconduct that is illegal, unethical, or against public policy. Approximately 1400 whistleblowers have filed qui tam lawsuits in the last two years, and have received $435 million in rewards. Qui tam lawsuits are commonly made by whistleblowers under the False Claims Act; law that rewards whistleblowers if they help the government recover funds.
Just recently, PR Newswire reported a $68.5 million settlement between Office Depot and a number of cities, government entities, and school districts, for the alleged over charge of office supplies at Office Depot. The whistleblower turned out to be the former Office Depot account manager. This shows just how powerful qui tam lawsuits are for whistleblowers, in helping the government recover millions in funds.
It is important to understand that qui tam cases are filed under court seal. This would prevent the whistleblower in disclosing any information regarding the case to anyone, including family and friends. The primary purpose of the seal is to allow the government to investigate on the alleged claims made by the whistleblower. The qui tam case will eventually be unsealed, once the government completes its investigation. Since the majority of whistleblower claims are made by employees, becoming a whistleblower requires a great deal of courage, as it puts whistleblowers at risk of employer retaliation- termination. However, in recent years, there has been a number of whistleblower protection laws established to allow anonymous reporting, as well as laws aimed towards preventing employers from retaliating against whistleblowing employees by firing them. Whistleblowers are the main force in exposing company misconduct and violations. Therefore, with the protection of the law, one should not be afraid in taking a step forward to help prevent, and stop fraud.
To learn more about qui tam cases, visit: /practice-areas/qui-tam-false-claims/
If you believe you have a whistleblower claim, contact the Evans Law Firm, Inc. for a free and confidential consultation at 415-441-8669 or firstname.lastname@example.org. The Evans Law Firm, Inc. handles qui tam (whistleblower/false claims) litigation, whistleblower award claims, consumer class action fraud, and financial fraud cases.