Working for the railroads can be a great career. You have excellent job stability because there is consistent demand for railway transportation. You can potentially command an excellent wage, especially if you provide skilled services to your employer.
Unfortunately, some people working for railroad companies in the United States will face a moral conundrum. They will discover, likely by accident, that their employer has broken the law. They may have billed for repairs or services to railroad infrastructure that the company did not perform or over-billed for a project that the company did complete.
The False Claims Act is a federal law frequently used to prosecute medical professionals and support staff who engage in illegal billing practices with government-funded insurance programs like Medicaid. The same law also applies to railroad companies claiming compensation for infrastructure work. As an employee with inside information, you may need to bring a qui tam claim against your employer for their fraudulent billing practices. Will the government join your lawsuit?
Workers must initiate qui tam lawsuits
The False Claims Act allows an employee with inside knowledge to initiate a civil lawsuit against a company for violation of the false claims act. If the lawsuit is successful, the employee can potentially receive a portion of the money recovered from their employer as compensation for filing the lawsuit. They will also have protection as a whistleblower, meaning that their employer cannot demote, fire, or otherwise penalize them for reporting the company’s misconduct.
Initially, the worker is the one who will file the qui tam claim. The government may then choose to join the lawsuit, or the original plaintiff may be the only one who sees the claim through to the end. In either case, the rights of the plaintiff – who is also an employee – remain largely the same. Although the government does join in on claims that have strong evidence, their decision against joining your lawsuit does not inherently imply that your claim is less likely to be successful.
A False Claims Act lawsuit can push an employer into compliance
For many concerned railroad employees, it is not the promise of compensation that gets them to blow the whistle and file a qui tam lawsuit. Instead, it is a possibility of what might go wrong if the company’s practices continue unchecked.
False railroad claims create a real risk for severe injury and death due to infrastructure degradation. Taking action with a qui tam lawsuit under the False Claims Act can help you protect the public from your employer’s unscrupulous actions.