- Watson False Claims Act retaliation is highly skilled in helping government contractors defend against FCA retaliation. We also help contractor employees bring whistleblower retaliation lawsuits.
- We have extensive experience developing legal strategies to mitigate the chances of an adverse result. We focus on facts and details to then build on for a more favorable outcome
- When an alleged FCA retaliation violation is alleged, our FCA lawyers provide reliable advice during every stage of the False Claims investigations and defense.
The False Claims Act (FCA) prohibits individuals and businesses from fraudulently getting paid, grants or contracts or services from the federal government. Under the FCA government contractors cannot submit claims for payment, fraudulent invoices, misrepresent facts in applications for SBA small business programs or in any other way deceive the government to obtain a set goal or result. Whether or not the result occurs is not a legal defense.
The Whistleblower False Claims Act retaliation provisions, 31 USC 3730 (h) allow protection for employees that take advantage of the statute. Government contractors facing civil liability or criminal prosecution simply cannot retaliate against employees for reporting alleged behavior or pursuing a Qui Tam action lawsuit against the company. Retaliation against the Whistleblower will simply just potentially increase the amount of damages that the contractor must pay out. In sum, the false claims retaliation statute makes it illegal for employers to retaliate against employees who have taken action and reported fraudulent activities.
False Claims Act Retaliation Provisions
31 USC 3730 (h) formalizes the protection for whistleblowers from retaliation. Section(h) specifically states:
(h)Relief From Retaliatory Actions.
Any employee, contractor, or agent shall be entitled to all relief necessary to make that employee, contractor, or agent whole, if that employee, contractor, or agent is discharged, demoted, suspended, threatened, harassed, or in any other manner discriminated against in the terms and conditions of employment because of lawful acts done by the employee, contractor, agent or associated others in furtherance of an action under this section or other efforts to stop 1 or more violations of this subchapter.
Relief under paragraph (1) shall include reinstatement with the same seniority status that the employee, contractor, or agent would have had but for the discrimination, 2 times the amount of back pay, interest on the back pay, and compensation for any special damages sustained as a result of the discrimination, including litigation costs and reasonable attorneys’ fees. An action under this subsection may be brought in the appropriate district court of the United States for the relief provided in this subsection.
Application of The False Claims Act Retaliation Provision
The anti-retaliation provision of the False Claims Act, 31 USC 3730 (h), prohibits government contractors and employers’ retaliatory behavior against employees, contractors and other agents of a company from being “discharged, demoted, suspended, threatened, harassed, or in any other manner discriminated against in the terms and conditions of employment by his or her employer” because that person or company investigated, reported or otherwise sought to deter or stop the violating company from defrauding the United States government.
What Must You Prove?
To prove that a government contractor or employer retaliated against an employee, contractor, or another agent in violation of 31 USC 3730(h), the Plaintiff Whistleblower must show and prove that: (1) plaintiff engaged in protected activity; and (2) that plaintiff was retaliated against because of her protected activity.
The whistleblower employee or contractor (the Act protects other contractors) engages in “protected activity” under the shelter of False Claims Act retaliation when they oppose the company’s attempt to get a false or fraudulent claim paid or approved by the Government, and where that opposition to fraud “reasonably could lead to a viable FCA action,” or when litigation is more than likely possible. An actual filing of a False Claims Act retaliation case is not a prerequisite.
Investigation of the matter without filing a retaliation lawsuit can very well fall within the reach of the False Claims Act anti-retaliation provision. To prove retaliation, the Whistleblower plaintiff must show that “because of” conduct in furtherance of a False Claims Act suit, a federal contractor/employer knew of the potential action by the plaintiff (the protected activity) and that the contractor employer was motivated to retaliate.
FCA Retaliation Damages
False Claims Act damages under 31 USC 3730(h) (1) shall include reinstatement with the same seniority status that employee, contractor, or agent would have had but for the discrimination action occurred, 2 times the amount of back pay, interest on the back pay, and compensation for any special damages sustained as a result of the discrimination, including litigation costs and reasonable attorneys’ fees. The whistleblower may file a lawsuit in the appropriate district court of the United States for the relief provided in this subsection.
False Claims Act Retaliation Statute of Limitations
Under 31 USC 3730 (h) (3), the employee whistleblower/plaintiff can file a civil action within 3 years after the date when the retaliation occurred.
Call Our False Claims Act Federal Contracting Attorneys
The Watson & Associates law firm offers experienced federal government contracting attorneys who understand the issues related to the False Claims Act, we represent both employers and plaintiffs when it comes to False Claims Act retaliation lawsuits. Contact the experienced whistleblower false claims defense lawyers at Watson & Associates, LLC for immediate help. Call Toll-Free 1.866.601.5518.