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Medical whistleblowers can take action by suing an employer

On Behalf of | Jun 21, 2024 | Professional Licensing Defense

Whistleblowing usually involves one of two types of behavior. People become whistleblowers when they inform an employer about some kind of illegal activity within the company. A worker can also become a whistleblower by notifying regulatory agencies about significant misconduct at their place of employment.

Whistleblowers have certain protections under federal law. Companies generally cannot punish them For reporting misconduct internally or to appropriate agencies. For those working in the medical sector, there is a third way to become a whistleblower. They might be in a position to initiate a lawsuit against the company on behalf of the federal government.

When a worker becomes a relator

The realization that a company has engaged in widespread misconduct and derived profit from that misconduct can be frightening for an employee. Those in the medical sector might notice billing fraud involving Medicare or Medicaid. They may worry that they are at risk of losing their job or that they could face federal prosecution if they fail to take action.

Workers sometimes choose to initiate lawsuits rather than to rely on internal reporting or federal agencies to stop company misconduct. In a qui tam lawsuit, a worker becomes a relator. They act on behalf of the federal government bringing a lawsuit against the company.

They need adequate evidence to convince the courts that their employer has violated the False Claims Act. Such lawsuits can lead to an employer needing to repay the government for any ill-gotten revenue. Occasionally, the federal government steps in and takes over a qui tam lawsuit. Other times, the employee oversees the entire litigation process from beginning to end.

Depending on a variety of factors, the relator who initiated the qui tam lawsuit receives compensation for their actions. Specifically, the government may give them between 15-30% of the funds recovered in a successful qui tam filing.

The worker also has standard whistleblower protections. Their employer should not penalize them for following the law and reporting illegal billing activity. Medical whistleblowers may need help putting together documentation for a qui tam lawsuit. They may also need help holding their employer accountable for retaliatory behavior after they take legal action.

Learning more about whistleblower protections can be beneficial for workers in many careers, including those in the medical sector. Choosing to take legal action is never easy but is sometimes the best option for workers concerned about illegal billing practices.