The False Claims Act (FCA) provides relief for employees, contractors, and agents who have been retaliated against for taking lawful acts in furtherance of an FCA action or for lawful efforts to stop an FCA violation (i.e., engaging in protected activity). Courts have held that an individual may take lawful acts in furtherance of an FCA action when he or she collects information or conducts an investigation that could reasonably lead to a viable FCA action. An individual is not required to file an FCA action in order to file an anti-retaliation action. A broad range of retaliatory conduct is covered by the FCA’s anti-retaliation provisions, including discharge, demotion, suspension, threats, and harassment.
Courts have typically required those filing the anti-retaliation action to meet three elements in order to recover: (1) that the employee engaged in protected activity, (2) that the employer was aware that the employee engaged in protected activity and (3) that the employer retaliated against the employee because of he or she engaged in that protected activity.
An employee who is able to prove these elements is entitled to reinstatement, two times the amount of back pay (plus interest), as well as any special damages, which includes litigation costs and attorneys’ fees. Special damages recoverable by an employee may also include damages for emotional distress suffered as a result of the employer’s retaliatory conduct. Despite the fact that reinstatement is a form of relief, as a practical matter, very few former employee whistleblowers seek that relief.
An action to recover for retaliation under the FCA cannot be brought more than three years after the date of the retaliation.
If you believe you have a False Claims Act Retaliation Claim, contact the Rabon Law Firm for a free consultation.