The False Claims Act (FCA) prohibits workplace retaliation against whistleblowers who uncover fraud against the government. See 31 U.S.C. § 3730(h). To claim these important protections, whistleblowers must show that (1) they were engaged in a protected activity; and (2) that there is a nexus between that activity and the retaliation.
Protected activities typically mean the whistleblower was taking steps in furtherance of a FCA action. This can include initiating a whistleblower lawsuit or providing information to someone else who is initiating an FCA lawsuit. However, the whistleblower must be able to show that the information disclosed “reasonably could have led to a viable FCA action.” O’Hara v. NIKA Techs., Inc., 878 F.3d 470, 476 (4th Cir. 2017). This does not mean that the whistleblower must ultimately prevail in an FCA claim to gain protection, but their false claims theory must be sound.
To establish a nexus, a whistleblower can show that their employer knew that they were engaged in the protected activity and that the retaliation was the result.
Whistleblowers are critical to the government’s attempts to combat fraud. Therefore, Congress included powerful protections in the False Claims Act to defend whistleblowers against workplace retaliation.
If you have uncovered fraud against the government, contact the whistleblower attorneys at Miller Law Group today for a free consultation.
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