The Federal False Claims Act imposes penalties on organizations or persons who provide false or fraudulent information to the government. In particular the act is aimed at preventing such claims whose motivation is to receive money or property from the U.S. government.
The Federal False Claims Act is an example of what is called "qui tam" law. A qui tam law allows a private citizen to “step into the shoes” of the government and bring suit on behalf of the government.
This means that a person who reports an employer under the False Claims Act is entitled to the percentage of money that the government recovers in court, usually anywhere from 15-25% of the award amount. Finally, the False Claims Act also protects whistleblowers who report employers from being retaliated against by the employer. This means that an employer may not take any actions such as firing or holding back wages of an employee who reported them.
States that Have False Claims Statutes
In addition to the Federal False Claims Act, the following states have also enacted their own version of a qui tam type False Claims statute:
- District of Columbia
- New Hampshire
- New Jersey
- New Mexico
- New York
- North Carolina
- Rhode Island
These states’ False Claims laws also protect whistleblowers from retaliation. Recently, many of the states have adopted statutes specifically providing for whistleblower protection in a health care employment setting. Check with your local authorities or with a lawyer for details on the False Claims regulations of your particular state.