What Does Qui Tam, or Whistleblower, Mean?

Posted on February 11, 2021

For as long as the federal government has been spending money, there have been people who try to steal and defraud the government of that money for their own benefit. From overcharging for military equipment to faking medical services, the federal government loses billions every year to scammers and unscrupulous federal contractors.

In an effort to prevent this, Congress has passed multiple laws that incentivize whistleblowers to come forward, and protect them from retaliation. This includes laws like the False Claims Act, the Whistleblower Protection Act, and the Whistleblower Protection Enhancement Act. Federal whistleblower laws are intended to incentivize witnesses of fraud to come forward and become whistleblowers, as well as provide protections.

This area of law is also known as qui tam, which is short for the latin phrase “qui tam pro domino rege quam pro se ipso in hac parte sequitur.” This translates to “[he] who sues in this matter for the king as well as for himself.” In many cases, someone who becomes a whistleblower and reports fraud may receive a portion of the money the government is able to recover as a result.

Legal Protection

The effort to encourage whistleblowers to come forward also prompted the government to create legal protections for whistleblowers. These legal protections made retaliation against whistleblowers illegal.

That means that it is illegal for an employer to fire, suspend, harass or otherwise punish an employee as a consequence of them blowing the whistle. The full range of illegal retaliation includes:

  • Termination of employment
  • Suspension, with or without pay
  • Demotion in pay or responsibility
  • Harassment or discrimination
  • Denial of benefits, bonuses, or promotions
  • Being made to feel unsafe or threatened
  • Imposition of penalties or sanctions

If the whistleblower is illegally retaliated against anyway, they have the right to sue for compensation. This compensation can take many forms depending on the situation, such as:

  • If fired, reinstatement to your position, salary, and benefits
  • Double the back pay lost as a result of termination or suspension, with interest
  • Legal costs and attorney fees
  • Other damages and compensation

For this, and many other reasons, it is essential for a whistleblower to have experienced, qualified legal representation on their side.

How An Attorney Can Help

The laws governing whistleblower cases can be complex, with many potential pitfalls for the whistleblower. A qualified attorney can help guide a whistleblower through the process, and avoid outcomes such as failure to avoid legal culpability, failure to protect privacy, failure to capitalize on reward potential, and failure to win compensation if retaliated against.

Don’t let that happen. If you’ve witnessed or discovered federal fraud in your workplace, call today and get your case reviewed discreetly and for free by our whistleblower legal team.

The Morgan & Morgan whistleblower team is made up of experienced attorneys and investigators, including former federal agents. They know how the system works, and they will do everything possible to advance your claim while keeping you protected from retaliation.

The consultation is always free, and you’ll never have to pay anything up front, or anything at all unless we successfully recover compensation on your behalf. Don’t wait. We want to start fighting for you today.