Employees of organizations are privy to all sorts of information that is not available to the public. Thus, it is not uncommon for an employee to discover that their employer is defrauding the government. When an employee discovers their employer is engaging in fraud, they can blow the whistle on their employer’s illegal conduct by filing a Texas qui tam lawsuit.
A qui tam lawsuit is essentially a whistleblower claim. The term qui tam is short for the Latin term, “qui tam pro domino rege quam pro se ipso in hac parte sequitur,” which roughly translates to “he who brings the action for the king as well as himself.” The idea behind a qui tam lawsuit is to incentivize those with knowledge that an organization is defrauding the government to come forward.
An employee who has knowledge of an employer’s fraud can file a civil lawsuit under the False Claims Act seeking to recover compensation for the employer’s fraud on behalf of the government. Once a qui tam lawsuit is filed, it is kept under seal while the Justice Department investigates the claim. During this period, the subject is not made aware they are under investigation.
If the government decides the case has merit, it will intervene. Naturally, those cases in which the government intervenes are more likely to succeed; however, it is not uncommon for cases to succeed without government intervention. If the case is successful, the person who filed the qui tam lawsuit will be awarded a percentage of the false claims and penalties. This percentage ranges between 15-25% if the government intervened and 25-30% if the government did not intervene.
An employee who files a Texas qui tam lawsuit is also protected against retaliation. Thus, once an employer discovers that an employee has filed a qui tam lawsuit, the employer cannot take any adverse employment action against the employee.
In addition to a claim under the False Claims Act, Texas employees who have discovered Medicaid fraud may be able to pursue a qui tam action under the Texas Medicaid Fraud Prevention Act (TMFPA). Under the TMFPA, a whistleblower can report any unlawful act, including an employer’s false or misleading statement that affects the Medicaid program. These cases are sealed for 180 days, rather than the 60 days under the False Claims Act. However, under either act, the court may extend the period for which the case is sealed.
Have You Been Retaliated Against?
If you have filed a Texas qui tam lawsuit in the past, or are considering blowing the whistle on your employer’s fraudulent conduct, contact the law firm of Rob Wiley, P.C. To learn more, call 214-528-6500 to schedule a consultation.
More Blog Posts:
Can a Texas Employer Require Employees to Pool Tips?, Dallas Employment Lawyer Blog, October 25, 2018.
Responsibilities of Texas Employers under the Americans with Disabilities Act, Dallas Employment Lawyer Blog, November 2, 2018.