When people go to work in California, they usually listen to their bosses and do what they want them to do. This is generally an important part of one's job if they want to keep it.
However, there are times when employees are either asked to perform tasks that are illegal or are aware that the employer is engaging in illegal conduct. In these situations the employee may refuse to perform the tasks asked of them and are encouraged to report the illegal activity to the proper authorities. This can take some incentive though because if the employee reports the illegal activity, they could very well endure retaliation from their employer.
So to encourage employees to report illegal activity, the whistleblowers may be able to receive compensation through qui tam lawsuits. They are also protected from whistleblower retaliation when filing these lawsuits.
If a person wants to start a qui tam lawsuit, they first file their complaint under seal to the court. At this time they also serve it on the Attorney General or U.S. Attorney's Office. These agencies then have 60 days to determine whether they will take the case or not. If they do decide to handle the matter they will take over the handling of it.
If they decline to or do not respond within 60 days, then the person who initiated it in court may proceed. However, even if the government does take over, the whistleblower still is entitled to compensation.
Most employers in California follow the law, but sometimes by not following the law, the company can make much more money. Therefore, it can be advantageous for them to violate it. This does not make it right though and the government will still enforce the laws, but they may need employees to supply the evidence they need to proceed against the company. This can be done through Qui Tam actions against the company and if successful the employee could be entitled to significant compensation. These can be complicated though and experienced attorneys may be able to guide one through it.