Unfortunately, employees, contractors, and other agents of a company often find that they are retaliated against for bringing fraudulent behavior to their company’s attention or refusing to participate in fraud.
Fortunately, the federal and state False Claims Acts have anti-retaliation provisions that prohibit retaliating against employees or other agents who are engaged in protected conduct to stop fraud, including by reporting a concern to the company compliance hotline, communicating a problem to a superior, or calling a government fraud hotline. Similarly, other whistleblower laws, such as those of the Securities and Exchange Commission, also prohibit retaliation. Sometimes, state contract or tort laws may provide additional remedies.
An employee or other person who proves retaliation is entitled to relief in court. For example, under the federal False Claims Act, a successful plaintiff is entitled to reinstatement to their position, two times their back pay, prejudgment interest, front pay, damages for emotional distress, and attorney’s fees and costs.
If you are retaliated against, it is important to consult an attorney before accepting any severance or other compensation package from your employer. Such agreements often include a release or waiver of your rights that can bar you effectively from bringing a whistleblower case or retaliation claim.