Whistleblowers in Connecticut and the rest of the country can file qui tam actions against an employer if their employers have committed acts of fraud against the government. The reluctance many employees may feel to provide information about acts of fraud tends to hinge on the fear of retaliation that the employers may take against them. However, as whistleblowers, these employees are afforded some legal protections.
Qui tam actions are filed under seal in order to conceal the identity of the individual who is making the complaint. This person’s identity will remain hidden for as long as the case remains under seal, but it will eventually be revealed. The identity of the whistleblower may be determined by the employers based on the topic of the investigation or the inquiries that are made during the investigation. The employee in question may be identified if they previously attempted to address the issue of fraud within the company internally. If the fraud case progresses to the litigation stage, the person’s identity will be revealed as the complaint will be unsealed.
It is a violation of federal law, specifically the False Claims Act, for employers to take retaliatory actions against employees who file a suit. Unfortunately, harassment and ostracization by other employees and management is common after a whistleblower is exposed. It is not unusual for whistleblowers to be suspended, prevented from receiving raises or promotions, demoted or fired.
An attorney who practices whistleblower law may help protect the interests and rights of individuals who report an employer’s acts of wrongdoing and who are retaliated against in the workplace with demotions, terminations or denied pay raises. The attorney may explain how certain acts of legislation, such as the False Claim Act, may be used to obtain financial damages from employers who engaged in retaliation.