You are at work and you experience some form of employment discrimination or come across information that your employer has illegally been defrauding the government. What do you do? Many people like to believe that they will stand up for what is right and seek the relevant help that is needed to right whatever wrong has occurred. However, once people start factoring in their financial needs and family obligations, standing up for what is right may not seem plausible. Under New York’s state laws and certain federal laws, you are protected. In these cases, it is beyond beneficial to seek legal advice, and here at The Law Offices of Joseph & Norinsberg, we are here to help.
What are Qui Tam Laws?
Qui Tam lawsuits are civil lawsuits that private citizens, also known as relators, bring under the False Claims Act that reward the private citizen/relator for knowledge of past or present fraud committed against the federal government. If the relator’s qui tam case recovers funds for the government, so will the relator. The person bringing the claim on behalf of the government does not have to be personally harmed by the defendant’s conduct, the person must simply have knowledge of the fraud that is not known to the public. According to New York State’s False Claims Act, the law allows the state and any local government to bring a civil action to recover three times its financial losses from fraud. However, under New York State’s False Claim Act, a defendant may be ordered to pay up to three times both the actual harm to the state and consequential damages, as well as a fine for violating the state’s False Claims Act up to $12,000.00.
How Does This Pertain to Employment Laws?
New York State has labor laws that provide protection for relators throughout numerous industries if they report fraudulent behavior to the government. These industries include healthcare, government, construction, roads and bridges, prisons, housing, and environmental services.
However, under the Federal False Claims Act, there are other ways to defraud the government that an employer may use such as:
- Improper Medicare or Medicaid billing
- Overcharging for goods or services provided under governmental contracts
- Selling government equipment that has been used but branded as “new”
- Selling the government defective or dangerous products
- Requesting payment for goods and services that were not provided.
For these reasons, an employer with knowledge of the fraud may bring an action on the government’s behalf and is protected by New York’s labor laws, which discourages retaliation against the employee. If an employee who has become a relator is involved in the fraudulent behavior of their company, his or her reward can be reduced or entirely eliminated.
Need Legal Advice?
If you or a loved one has come across information that your employer has defrauded the government in some way it is important to seek legal advice. Though it may be difficult to stand up against an employer, here at The Law Offices of Joseph & Norinsberg believe that you do not have to stand alone. Contact our office today at [email protected] or (212)-JUSTICE so that we can help you seek the best possible outcomes for your case. We are here to help!