Qui tam is a provision under the False Claims Act (31 U.S.C. § 3729 et seq.), which allows for a private individual, or whistleblower with knowledge of past or present fraud on the United States federal government to bring suit on behalf of the government. This provision allows a private person, known as a “relator,” to bring a lawsuit on behalf of the United States, where the private person has information that the named defendant has knowingly submitted or caused the submission of false or fraudulent claims to the United States. The relator need not have been personally harmed by the defendant’s conduct.
The Civil False Claims Act, also known as Lincoln's Law, the Informer's Act, or the Qui Tam Statute, 31 U.S.C. Section 3729 et seq., allows a private person to sue a person or company who is knowingly submitting false bills to the federal government. The Act also protects qui tam plaintiffs who are "demoted, suspended, threatened, harassed or in any other manner discriminated against in the terms and conditions of employment" for acts done in furtherance of filing a claim under the Act. This provision allows reinstatement, double back pay, interest on the back pay, plus special damages including litigation costs and reasonable attorneys' fees.
A private person may not be able to commence a qui tam action "pro se" -- that is, without representation by a lawyer -- since the private person is actually representing/filing the suit on behalf of the government and that may only be done by a lawyer.
A whistleblower is a person who tells on something he believes is an illegal act. The employees are the most commonly known whistleblower. They tell on their employers which they suspect is doing or committing an illegal act. Under the Whistleblower Protection Law, the employee should not be discharged, denoted, suspended, threatened or harassed in any form that discriminates the terms and conditions of his employment because of the legal act done by the employee.
The employee may be of aid in many ways possible on the investigation, testimony and the likes. However there are some constraints under the whistleblower protection law.
Reporting illegal acts that are only within the company is a ground for exemption. But still there may be public policies that could protect the employee from retaliation.
If it turns out that an employer didn't actually break a law, the employee is still entitled to whistle blower protection from retaliation, if he reasonably believed that the employer committed an illegal act.
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