Blowing the whistle on wrongdoings is nothing new, but it has gained popularity in recent years with multiple high-profile cases. Employees often have inside information or access to fraudulent activity that even the Federal Government may not have. For this reason, the government has placed a “bounty” on entities that are dealing fraudulently with the government with regard to taxes. Whistleblowers stand to receive 10% – 30% of the monies recovered if the suit is successful.
When a worker or employee files a claim under the Fraud Against Taxpayers Act (FATA), they are afforded certain protections against retaliation. These suits are also called Qui Tam Actions. Qui Tam Actions also protect whistleblowers from being harassed, discriminated or retaliated against for reporting their employer’s fraud.
5 ways a whistleblower could be illegally retaliated against
Just like a whistleblower stands to be rewarded by the Federal Government, they could also suffer retaliation from their employers. The latter is illegal, and Qui Tam Actions come with rights of protection from retaliation. Let’s take a look at five ways that this could happen:
- Harassment: Being ostracized or harassed by employers or co-workers for whistleblowing is illegal.
- Demotion: If an employee is demoted after whistleblowing, it could qualify as illegal retaliation.
- Suspension: Being sent home while the company investigates can also be considered retaliation. A worker cannot be suspended from their job as a result of blowing the whistle.
- Termination: If an employee is fired or let go after filing a Qui Tam Action, it could be considered retaliation.
- Denial of promotion: This one is a little more passive-aggressive than the above examples. If an employee was on track for promotion or a raise and then they are suddenly denied after whistleblowing, then this too could be considered retaliation.
As with all retaliation cases, it is imperative to prove with evidence that the actions of the company were a direct result of the employee’s whistleblowing activities.
Knowing more about whistleblowing with a Qui Tam Action under FATA can help to protect employees’ rights if faced with any form of retaliation.