WHISTLEBLOWER LAWYER IN AUSTIN
Whistleblower Complaint Defense
Whistleblowers serve a very important role in society. These whistleblowers are protecting not only the government, but also taxpayers from both financial fraud and possible danger. To encourage employees to report illegal activity within their workplace, financial fraud, or violations of health and safety, the federal government enacted “whistleblower” laws. These laws mean to protect (and in some cases, compensate) employees who report this type of misconduct. If you have evidence or knowledge of fraudulent activity you want to report, you need a whistleblower attorney.
At Leichter Law Firm, our attorneys specialize in representing employees in cases against their employers. We represent Texas-based licensed professionals like physicians and nurses rather than the hospitals or large corporations they work for. We’re dedicated to bringing justice for those individuals willing to stand up for their rights, especially in the case of whistleblowing. Here, we’ll answer some of your common questions about whistleblowing.
What is a Whistleblower?
Under the federal whistleblower laws, a whistleblower complaint (or claim) is a type of formal submission that exposes employer misconduct. The complaint describes what information an employee has supporting their allegations of fraud or misconduct. With this knowledge, whistleblowers can assist the government in identifying violations like fraud much sooner than what might have been possible without their intel.
There are different kinds of whistleblower complaints depending on the sector or area of employment you fall under. If the misconduct occurred in an area of healthcare, you may have a case under either the federal or state False Claims Act.
What is Qui Tam False Claims Act?
The False Claims Act is the foundation of the whistleblower system. It is a federal law that makes it illegal for anyone to make a false claim in regards to healthcare programs. This law is the most common one used for whistleblowers seeking to report fraud or misconduct. It enables private citizens to file a complaint against their employer and on behalf of the government. This law also rewards the whistleblowers monetarily in cases where the government is successful in recovering lost funds.
For a complaint to fall under the False Claims Act (FCA), the conduct must have resulted in financial loss for the government.
The Act also protects the whistleblower from retribution from their place of employment. It protects employees from all the following forms of retaliation:
- Any other discriminatory manner violating the terms and conditions of employment
Protected activity that falls under the False Claims Act includes any internal reporting of fraudulent or illegal activity to a supervisor. It also protects any efforts made to remedy this illegal activity to avoid an FCA violation. Any other steps taken by the employee to bring forth a qui tam action are also protected.
What is a Qui Tam Case?
When you hear the words qui tam, this is what is referring to a whistleblower lawsuit that’s brought under the False Claims Act. Qui tam lawsuits are what allow the whistleblowers to receive a percentage of what's recovered by the government. There are several situations that might prove your eligibility to file a qui tam lawsuit. If you have information that your employer is:
- Committing financial fraud (Medicare, Medicaid, or other healthcare fraud) against the government
- Presenting fraudulent claims to the federal government for payment
- Overbilling or keeping an overpayment for government services
- Abusing government programs or contracts for financial gain
If you have knowledge of these actions of misconduct or others, you may be able to receive financial rewards in a qui tam lawsuit.
What is the Reward for Whistleblowing?
There is often a fear of retaliation that surrounds the idea of whistleblowing, which is why the government provides incentives to those who come forward. Reporting fraud and misconduct allows the Securities and Exchange commission to preserve the integrity of U.S. markets and reduce harm to investors. It also allows the Commission to hold those engaging in unlawful activities accountable for their actions.
Under the False Claims Act, a whistleblower who is successful in bringing forth a qui tam lawsuit may recover monetary rewards. This includes reinstatement, double back pay plus interest, and other special damages. Special damages refers to litigation costs and attorney fees as well as any emotional distress that resulted from the incident.
The amount in awards that the Commission grants whistleblowers ranges between 15%-30% of money collected in cases where sanctions reach over $1,000,000. It also depends on how helpful you are to the investigation and how well your whistleblower attorney is able to negotiate.
Why Do I Need a Whistleblower Lawyer?
Qui tam lawsuits are an extremely complex legal area. They are unlike any other kind of lawsuit and require skilled representation from a qualified attorney. An experienced whistleblower attorney knows what it takes to represent their client in negotiating the amount of awards if the government recovers damages from the information relayed.
If there are other whistleblowers with the same information, that may ruin your chance for a reward. Whoever is first to file the complaint will be the one who recovers the money. That is another reason why you need an attorney, preferably someone who works in a proficient and compelling manner.
In the event that you're retaliated against for sounding the alarm, you will also need a lawyer to protect your rights and safety in the workplace.
Contact Leichter Law Firm PC Today
If you think you may have a qui tam lawsuit on your hands, let Leichter Law Firm represent you. As recognized Texas medical license defense lawyers, we stand ready to advise, counsel and defend you in your healthcare-related legal concerns. To discuss your case with one of our whistleblower attorneys, contact us today by calling 512-495-9995. You can also get in touch with us via our online intake form.