18. Whistleblower/False Claims Act Protects Against Retaliation

The FCA provides strong protection against an employer who discharges or punishes a whistleblower.

Among lawyers this protection against wrongful discharge is commonly referred to as an “H claim” because it is found in subsection (h) of an FCA section. In summary, if you are discharged, demoted, suspended, threatened, harassed, or in any other manner discriminated against because of you blew the whistle or attempted to stop a violation of the FCA, you are entitled to legal relief. That relief includes reinstatement to your position, two times the amount of back pay, interest on the back pay, and compensation for any special damages you may have sustained as a result of the discrimination, including litigation costs and reasonable attorneys’ fees. You must bring your case for retaliation within three years of the retaliation.

Your retaliation claim is different from your FCA claim in that you actually own this claim. It belongs to you rather than to the United States. It may be brought in conjunction with the FCA claim or brought as a separate action on your own behalf. Even if your FCA claim ends up being dismissed, your “H claim” may still go forward, affording you relief from retaliation you may have suffered.