Birmingham Medical News: False Claims Retaliatory Discharge Claims
Reprinted with Permission from the Birmingham Medical News
An often overlooked and under publicized provision of the False Claims Act ("FCA") is the retaliatory discharge prohibition. This is probably because retaliatory discharge claims do not grab headlines by winning multimillion dollar verdicts or settlements.
While a former employee may have legitimate arguments that he was retaliated against, a retaliatory discharge claim is filed as a routine part of a qui tam action in almost every qui tam lawsuit if the relator is a former employee. Accordingly, it is important to understand the basics about retaliatory discharge claims.
While most people in the health care industry understand that the FCA prohibits individuals and companies from submitting claims for payment that involve some type of error that causes the claim to be false, many are unaware that an employee is protected from retaliation for trying to bring false claims to light. More particularly, the anti-retaliation provision of the False Claims Act protects employees, contractors or other agents of a company from being "discharged, demoted, suspended, threatened, harassed, or in any other manner discriminated against in the terms and conditions of employment by his or her employer" because the employee, contractor, or agent investigated, reported or sought to stop a company from engaging in practices which defraud the United States government.