You may have noticed a discrepancy in your employer’s dealings with a government agency. At first you thought it was an honest mistake, but when you brought the issue to your supervisor’s attention, you learned that this was more than simply an honest error. You want to report the issue, but if you do, can your employer fire you?
What is the California False Claims Act?
The California False Claims Act provides the Attorney General with the ability to recover damages and penalize those who make false statements in order to obtain funds or assets from the state or to avoid paying money to the state. The Act relies in part on tips from employees who are filing a “qui tam” action, also known as “whistleblowers.”
How does the California False Claims Act relate to whistleblowers?
Under the California False Claims Act, whistleblowers can pursue a lawsuit referred to as a “qui tam complaint” to have the Act enforced against their employer. If they do so, it is unlawful for their employer to retaliate against them. An employer cannot demote, fire or otherwise take adverse employment actions against whistleblowers who call their bluff on legit offenses.
For example, qui tam actions have been brought against companies that sold the state defective products, companies that filed false reports to hide acts of theft or circumvent paying royalties, and banks that file false reports with the state.
If you suspect your employer falsified information to the state or otherwise defrauded the state, you want to do the right thing and report them. You should not fear for your job for doing so. The California False Claims Act protects whistleblowers from adverse employment actions, in order to promote the free flow of information between employees and the state.