Workplace Retaliation: How Does the False Claims Act (Qui Tam) Protect Me?

a worker yelling at another worker

Employees have a right to report unlawful activities occurring in the workplace. However, they often fear negative repercussions or retaliation due to reporting illegal activity in the workplace. Thankfully, specific laws are in place to protect workers who report their companies or employers for participating in fraud, embezzlement, or other illegal activity, including the California False Claims Act.

What Is the California False Claims Act?

The California False Claims Act (CFCA) is a state law that prohibits employers from retaliating against employees who report fraudulent activity against the state of California. The CFCA allows employees to sue their employer for wrongfully terminating them, demoting them, or taking any other adverse employment action against them in retaliation for reporting fraud. The CFCA also authorizes an employee with knowledge of fraud against the state to pursue these claims on behalf of the government in a “qui tam” action.

What Types of Fraud Does the CFCA Cover?

The CFCA prohibits employer retaliation against employees who report fraud committed against the state of California or any of its political subdivisions. Fraudulent activities that are covered under the CFCA include, but are not limited to:

  • Billing the state for services that were not rendered
  • Billing the state for substandard services
  • Falsifying records to receive payment from the state
  • Defrauding the state through a kickback scheme

What Are an Employee’s Rights Under the CFCA?

An employee who is retaliated against in violation of the CFCA may sue their employer and recover damages. If the employee prevails in their lawsuit, they may be awarded:

  • Lost wages and benefits
  • Reinstatement to their former position
  • Attorney’s fees and costs

In some cases, an employee may also be awarded punitive damages. Punitive damages are designed to punish the employer for their unlawful conduct and deter them from engaging in similar conduct in the future. Further, employees who successfully sue their employers for fraud on behalf of the state may receive a portion of the state’s financial recovery in qui tam actions.

How Can Hennig Kramer Ruiz & Singh, LLP Help?

You may be entitled to compensation if you have been retaliated against for reporting fraud against the government. Our experienced employment law attorneys can evaluate your case and help you assert your rights under the CFCA. If you are experiencing retaliation in the workplace, our team is here to help you.

Get in touch with our Los Angeles employment law attorneys today at (213) 292-5444 to schedule a consultation!

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