If you are the plaintiff-relator and you are not directing the fraud, then most likely the government will take action against you. Obviously, however, that does not address what might happen to a person at work for complaining to their boss about it. That may be a different matter, but in terms of what the government would do, it would be highly unlikely for the government to go after a plaintiff relator who filed a case under that theory.
If you are charged with a crime prior to filing a case, that is an issue for a criminal lawyer. In cases where nobody has been charged with a crime, assuming that you did not plan or direct the fraud, then you can file a False Claims action. Read below to learn more employment consequences for False Claims Act cases.
Can Filing a False Claims Act Case Affect My Employment?
Obviously, it is likely that complaining about fraud to one’s boss may, in fact, affect one’s employment. If that has already happened, then it may be covered under the False Claims Act Anti-Retaliation Provisions, in which case a whistleblower would have a cause for action. You know that under the False Claims Act 31 U.S. C. Section 3730(h), a claim for retaliation may be possible under those circumstances.
If the whistleblower files the case first, the employer may not find out about their filing a False Claims Act for some time. It may be possible to use that time to move on and avoid such retaliatory situations.
What About Future Employment?
What usually affects the employment status of a relator is a situation where the case is so offensive that the plaintiff gets into trouble at work by complaining about it to their boss, and that obviously might have an effect in the near or distant future. It is a very long process, though, and it is usually possible for a relator to find new employment before anyone really knows what is happening
Future employers may or may not know you filed a False Claims Act case. Most of the time, even in cases that are not taken by the government, the cases are eventually unsealed and usually dismissed relatively instantaneously if they are not successful.
When that happens, an employer could find the case if they are really good at searching for the government’s court docket system. Right now, that is not so easy to search, but it could happen. If the case is successful, meanwhile, it may involve a large collection, so that may become newsworthy and people may find out about it. On the bright side, though, you would have the compensation of having won the case.
If you have any questions about employment consequences for False Claims Act cases, contact an experienced lawyer.