Whistleblower and Qui Tam Lawsuits
Workers who discover illegal behavior, fraud or other wrongdoing in the workplace may be afraid for their jobs if they come forward with that information. Fortunately, a variety of federal and Illinois state laws protect workers who “blow the whistle” on their companies’ illegal actions. In fact, the federal False Claims Act (also known as the Lincoln Law) actually rewards whistleblowers who reveal fraud against the federal government by allowing them to collect 15% to 30% of the financial damages. This is widely known as a qui tam action. The Illinois Whistleblower Reward and Protection Act provides similar protections for people who report fraud against the State of Illinois.
Nearly all types of fraud against the federal government other than tax fraud are actionable under the False Claims Act. Whistleblowers do not need help from a federal agency to file their claims. Rather, the law specifies that they must file their lawsuits under seal, then deliver copies of the lawsuits to the Justice Department. Federal prosecutors can choose to step in after an investigation, but even if they choose not to, you may continue your case as a “private attorney general.” This process is complex and can take months, which is why experts recommend that whistleblowers get help from a Chicago qui tam attorney.
Some of the most common types of fraud reported under the False Claims Act and the Whistleblower Reward and Protection Act include:
- Medicare fraud, Medicaid fraud and other health care fraud
- Fraud by defense contractors
- Kickbacks and bribes
- Overcharges, submitting inflate bids and granting contracts without competitive bidding
- False statements on grant applications and other statements
- Poaching, illegal logging or minding and other illegal use of environmental resources
- Fraud involving public works projects, agriculture subsidies and municipal bonds
- Falsifying regulatory compliance
Multiple other federal and state laws protect whistleblowers reporting illegal activity in the private sector. Many of them protect whistleblowers from retaliation at their workplaces -- any response that harms them or their employment -- for reporting illegal behavior or supporting colleagues who have done so. Among the laws prohibiting retaliation against whistleblowers are:
- The Civil Rights Act and other anti-discrimination laws
- The Sarbanes-Oxley Act, which protects people who report corporate financial fraud
- Various federal and state environmental laws, including the Clean Air Act and the Superfund law
- The Occupational Safety and Health Act, which covers workplace safety
- The National Labor Relations Act, which protects lawful union organizing
Our Illinois whistleblower protection lawyers handle all types of whistleblower claims, including False Claims Act cases as well as retaliation claims. We have years of experience aggressively litigating against perpetrators of business fraud, contract violations and violations of federal law.
If you’re ready to report illegal practices at work -- or you already have and were fired, demoted or otherwise punished for your good deed -- DiTommaso Lubin Austermuehle can help. Based in Chicago and Oakbrook Terrace, Illinois, we represent clients throughout Illinois, Indiana and Wisconsin. To contact us right away and get started on your case, please fill out the questionnaire below. If appropriate, someone from our firm may call you to set up a free, confidential consultation with further details about your case. To learn more, please contact us by e-mail or call us at (630) 333-0000 in the Chicago area and 1-877-990-4990 nationwide.