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What's a 'qui tam' action?

A qui tam action is one that an employee initiates against an employer that committed fraud against the government. Qui tam actions are not that common, however, because employees are often afraid to report their employer's unlawful activity -- due to a fear of negative employment retaliation by the employer. This is why employees who wish to report the government fraud committed by their employers need to learn about the federal whistleblower laws that protect them.

Employees also need to know that qui tam actions are filed under seal. In this way, the identity of the whistleblower remains confidential and the employee may be able to remain anonymous. The problem is, employers are often able to deduce which employee blew the whistle on them, even if the identity of the complainant remains a secret in the legal paperwork. Moreover, if -- after the government fully investigates the matter -- the complaint moves into litigation, the employee's identity will later be known by the employer during the legal proceedings.

The whistleblower protections imparted upon the employee by federal law prohibit the employer from retaliating in an adverse way against the employee. For example, employers are prohibited from suspending, demoting, terminating or "discriminating against the [employee] in the terms and conditions of employment..."

Employees who wish to prove they have been the victims of whistleblower discrimination should prove the following:

  • The employee engaged in actions protected under the False Claims Act in his or her pursuit of a qui tam suit.
  • The employer was aware of the employee's qui tam action.
  • The employer committed retaliation against the employee in response to his or her actions.

Do you need to file a qui tam claim or a qui tam retaliation lawsuit? Do not delay in learning as much as you can about qui tam actions, whistleblowing and your legal rights and options.

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