Many individuals who have jobs are reluctant to report their employers’ wrongdoing or fraudulent activity because they fear that they might lose their job or suffer some other sort of adverse action. However, individuals should be aware that as employees, they enjoy certain protections against retaliation after engaging in protected activity under the False Claims Act.
Your Atlanta employment lawyer will tell you that employees can sue on behalf of the federal government if they believe that their employers have cheated or defrauded the government or any federal agency. In order to pursue a claim under the Act, the entity or individual must have committed the fraud knowingly and not by accident. Additionally, the whistleblower must have knowledge of the fraud and that knowledge must have been obtained from a private source. Moreover, the perpetrated fraud must be fairly recent and the suit must be brought in a timely fashion. Lastly, the accused entity or individual must have actually made a false claim for which it is seeking payment from the government.
What Is Needed For a Retaliation Claim?
If you have accused your employer of wrongdoing under the FCA and your employer has taken some sort of negative or adverse action against you, you may have a valid claim for retaliation. To have a claim for retaliation under the FCA, employees must demonstrate that:
Your Atlanta employment lawyer can thoroughly review the facts and circumstances of your situation and properly advise you as to whether or not you have a viable claim.
Protected Activity Under the Act
Some employees are not aware of what constitutes protected activity under the FCA. Plainly stated, if the activities conducted were geared toward exposing the employer’s fraud against the government, that activity is generally protected. However, it is always advisable to speak with an attorney regarding any claim.
Adverse Action After Employer Learns of Protected Activity
An employee will need to show that the employer not only knew about the protected activity, but also that the employer took adverse action against him or her for such activity. If an employee makes it clear to the employer that he or she is working with the government to uncover fraudulent activity, there most likely will not be an issue as to whether or not the employer had notice about the activity. However, a clear declaration of such activity does not have to be made.
An employee must also show that there is a link between the protected activity and the adverse action with either direct or indirect evidence. Once this has been satisfied, the burden shifts to the employer to show that they would have acted adversely against the employee even if he or she had not participated in the protected activity.
If you have experienced retaliatory actions from your employer and you have questions, contact an Atlanta employment lawyer at Parks, Chesin & Walbert today for assistance.