The federal government plays a big role in the maintenance of the United States railway infrastructure. Companies that own and manage different sections of rail can bill the government for their investments.
Generally speaking, businesses operating and managing railroads want to maintain safe infrastructure and machinery to limit their own liability. However, some companies may fail to perform work and bill for those services anyway.
There are numerous issues with this kind of business practice, not the least of which is how it might leave sections of crucial infrastructure in poor repair and at risk of sudden failure. Railroad workers can potentially speak up when they notice discrepancies between what their company bills for and what work the employees actually do. The federal government will even compensate workers who helped bring a successful claim.
The False Claims Act applies to railway workers as well as those in medicine
The False Claims Act creates specific penalties for those who fraudulently bill the United States government. It also creates a system that allows for employees at businesses to take action. Those workers, called relators, can file a lawsuit against their employer for violations of the False Claims Act on behalf of the government.
Sometimes the government will join the lawsuit. Other times, the employee will handle the entire claim with the help of their lawyer. These qui tam claims trigger whistleblower protections for the workers, meaning their employers cannot fire them or otherwise punish them for reporting the misconduct to the government.
If successful, a qui tam lawsuit could also mean compensation for the relator. They can typically receive between 10% and 15% of the full amount recovered through the claim. Every year, the government records millions of dollars in recovered losses through qui tam lawsuits.
Taking action helps protect the public and your profession
Some workers feel reticent to draw attention to their employer’s misconduct. They may worry that they could lose their jobs at the company might go under because of their actions. However, the railway industry as a whole could suffer some kind of catastrophic failure were to occur due to fraudulent billing practices. By speaking up, you protect not only the industry, but your professional investment in it.
Learning about how the government incentivizes qui tam claims could motivate you to file a lawsuit over questionable practices by your employer.