Turning Problems Into Solutions

What is a qui tam lawsuit against an employer?

On Behalf of | Jun 28, 2024 | Employment Law

Businesses in certain industries sometimes directly bill the government for services rendered. Government contracts can be lucrative for certain businesses. Companies that help maintain railway infrastructure across the United States bill the federal government for the work that they perform, for example.

Other companies negotiate arrangements to accept government insurance. Many healthcare providers ranging from hospitals to family practices accept Medicare or Medicaid insurance programs. Doing so broadens their customer base and can increase overall profitability. They receive payment from the government after caring for certain patients.

There are numerous regulations that apply to businesses that receive reimbursement from the government. Occasionally, companies ignore those regulations or bill for services they did not provide out of a desire to make as much money as possible. Those employees concerned about company practices may decide to file a qui tam lawsuit against a business.

Whistleblowers sometimes take legal action

A qui tam lawsuit is essentially a form of whistleblowing. An employee with non-public information about company practices identifies illegal billing conduct. They then initiate a lawsuit as a relator acting on behalf of the federal government. They file the qui tam lawsuit against their employer using the evidence they have gathered. In some cases, federal agencies may assume control over qui tam lawsuits. Other times, employees manage the entire process.

A qui tam lawsuit alleges that an employer violated the False Claims Act. It seeks reimbursement for amounts improperly billed. The relator can receive between 15 and 30% of the funds recovered from the company if the lawsuit is successful. They also have protection as a whistleblower after initiating the lawsuit. Their employer should not terminate them or otherwise penalize them for taking legal action in response to fraudulent billing activity.

Workers preparing to pursue qui tam lawsuits often need support. They need to document what happened at the company and learn about their protections. Whistleblowers sometimes face retaliation despite the rules against company punishment for speaking up about misconduct. Seeking support can help to ensure that their claims are as successful as possible, and that they’re not punished for doing the right thing.

Pursuing a qui tam lawsuit is often the best option available when a worker uncovers fraudulent billing activity that affects government programs. Workers who learn about their rights and have appropriate support are often more likely to succeed when taking legal action over an employer’s billing practices.