Whistleblowers are essential to maintaining the integrity of American businesses and reducing fraud that can cost millions of dollars. While it can be challenging to come forward, knowing that the resulting case could be stressful, the government counts on people who have inside information.
Meaning of qui tam
The phrase “qui tam” is a Latin phrase that, in English, means, “[he] who brings this matter for the king as well as himself.” Here, “king” means the government.
In a qui tam action, an individual often referred to as a “relator” acts as the plaintiff in an action against a private party who violates the False Claims Act. The relator serves as both a source of information as well as a party in the claim. More modernly, the relator may be referred to as a whistleblower.
What does being a relator mean for my case?
The government can catch some false claims as they happen. Still, they also count on people who have inside information to bring these claims and support them with information. In these qui tam actions, the government has a right to join the action or decline and allow the relator to proceed independently.
The government recognizes that being a whistleblower is a difficult job. To protect relators, there are protections and relief available, such as:
- Reinstatement of employment
- Double back pay
- Full or partial compensation for litigation and attorneys’ fees
In some cases, whistleblowers may also be eligible to receive a portion of the government’s recovery from a successful claim.
Coming forward as a whistleblower can be challenging. In some cases, a company will intimidate someone to stay quiet rather than revealing their malfeasance. It is essential to understand the protections you have in bringing your claim.