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Why do workers bring qui tam lawsuits against businesses?

On Behalf of | Nov 17, 2022 | Employment Law

The workers at a company often suffer when it faces accusations of misconduct or regulatory non-compliance. When businesses face financial penalties, they may have to temporarily halt raises and other profit-sharing programs. Additionally, the company faces serious accusations, there may be staff reductions in the future or possibly the closure of the business altogether.

Most employees would prefer to help their employer avoid scrutiny rather than bringing business failures to the attention of government officials or regulatory agencies. However, some employees will file civil lawsuits against their employer effectively on behalf of the federal government.

These so-called qui tam claims can be very expensive for the business involved. Why do workers initiate qui tam litigation?

They worry about prosecution

Acting as a whistleblower in a scenario where you think your employer has violated the law means accepting quite a bit of personal risk. Although there are federal laws against retaliation, companies often find ways to punish those who speak up about misconduct.

In a scenario in which a business has fraudulently billed the federal government, any employee aware of or involved in the scheme could face prosecution. A worker who has tried to initiate changes internally but gotten nowhere may worry that they could face charges when the government realizes the fraud that has occurred.

By being the one to make the report and file the initial qui tam lawsuit, the worker can minimize their own risk of future prosecution. They may also be able to push their employer back into compliance, effectively protecting the business’s future.

They can receive compensation

Although it is usually a secondary consideration to their safety, the stability of their company and legal compliance, the possibility of financial gain can also motivate people considering a qui tam lawsuit. It is possible for the claimant acting on behalf of the government to receive up to 30% of the amount recovered in a qui tam lawsuit.

You will typically need to have evidence of misconduct on behalf of your employer and an understanding of federal billing laws to improve your chances of success. Learning as much as possible about qui tam claims will help those concerned about misconduct on the part of their employers.