What protections are there if I alert the authorities that my employer is cheating on Medicare or Medicaid?
The law encourages whistleblowers to come forward and report Medicare and Medicaid fraud to the proper authorities. If the whistleblower is an employee of the wrongdoer, the law provides several protections for employees who report fraud.
First, the False Claims Act contains an anti-retaliation provision, 31 USC § 3730(h). This means an employer cannot fire, demote, or take other adverse employment action against an employee in retaliation for reporting fraud. If a whistleblower prevails in a retaliation claim, the whistleblower may be entitled to significant remedies including:
- double back pay;
- interest on the back pay;
- reinstatement of job status to the same position the whistleblower maintained before reporting the fraud;
- any special damages including, but not limited to, lost commissions, bonuses, raises, vacation pay or other fringe benefits; and
- recovery of attorney’s fees.
Next, many states have their own whistleblower laws, which also prohibit employers from retaliating against employees for reporting the illegal conduct of their employers. These laws, and the remedies they afford to victim employees, vary from state to state.
Many whistleblowers ask whether they can bring their whistleblower claim anonymously. In other words, can they file the claim in such a way that their employer will never learn the identity of the whistleblower?Under the False Claims Act, the answer, in almost all cases, is no. When a False Claims Act case is first filed, it remains under seal for at least 60 days, but more often several months or even years. In most cases, therefore, the employer does not learn the identity of the whistleblower until long after the case is filed. Eventually, the case must come unsealed, however, and the employer can learn the identity of the whistleblower.
Please Note: Rabin Kammerer Johnson provides these FAQ’s for informational purposes only, and you should not interpret this information as legal advice. If you want advice as to how the law might apply to the specific facts and circumstances of your case, please contact one of our attorneys.