Protecting The Rights Of People Who Do The Right Thing
South Carolina state and federal laws encourage workers to report fraudulent practices or violations of employment laws committed by their employers. Under the qui tam and whistleblower laws, employers may not retaliate against an employee reporting in good faith, even if the accusations turn out to be unfounded.
These private citizens, known as “relators” or “whistleblowers,” relate information to the government and share in any money recovered. Qui tam lawsuits have been, and continue to be, a very effective and successful tool in combating government procurement and program fraud.
The False Claims Act is the government's most effective tool for fighting fraud against the government. The law allows whistleblowers to file qui tam lawsuits against individuals and entities that are defrauding the government and to earn rewards if their cases are successful. More than $46.5 billion has been recovered as a result of qui tam lawsuits brought by whistleblowers.
If a whistleblower's qui tam lawsuit is successful, the whistleblower can receive rewards of 15% to 30% of the funds recovered as a result of their case. The False Claims Act also offers whistleblowers protections against job retaliation they may experience for reporting fraud against the government.
Common Whistleblower and Qui Tam Actions
- Healthcare Fraud
- Medicare/Medicaid Fraud
- Defense Contractor Fraud
- Fraud in the Financial Industry
To bring a whistleblower qui tam action under the statute, an individual must have personal knowledge and actual evidence of fraud. Successful qui tam claimants will be rewarded a portion of the money the government recovers.
Who is Eligible to Bring a Whistleblower or Qui Tam Action in South Carolina?
In South Carolina, there are many different parties that may be able to file a whistleblower action against an employer. They include:
- Current Employees
- Federal Employees
- Former Employees
It's important to note that you do not have to have suffered any personal harm in order to file a qui tam/whistleblower matter.
Whistleblower and Qui Tam Remedies in South Carolina
South Carolina's whistleblower statute is clear in that if you, as a government employee, reports in a proper manner your employer and the state saves money because of it, you could receive monetary compensation of either $2000 or up to 25% of the estimated savings by the state during the first year after your report is filed.
Additionally, South Carolina law provides any employee who reports wrongdoing protection against:
- Decreased in Compensation
You may also be entitled to:
- Be Reinstated to your Former Position
- Recover Lost Wages
- Receive up to $15,000 in Actual Damages
- Fees for Attorneys and Costs
Before You Report A Whistleblower Or Qui Tam Lawsuit
If you are considering reporting your employer under the qui tam or whistleblower laws, it is important to understand the process. In order to be eligible to receive compensation or a percentage of the recovery, you must be represented by legal counsel prior to filing the report.
If You Are Facing Retaliation For Reporting
If you have reported harassment, discrimination or a violation of wage and hour laws to your HR department or have hired an attorney and are facing retaliation, your employer may be violating the law. You have the right to stand up for yourself at work, and you have the responsibility to other employees to stop the illegal policies.
Call A Lawyer Who Really Will Make A Difference
Let us guide you through the next steps. The Hopkins Law Firm of Charleston, Georgetown, Pawleys Island, and Myrtle Beach, South Carolina whistleblower and qui tam attorney has extensive experience representing clients in qui tam, whistleblower cases, and employment law issues. Call us at 843-314-4202 or send an email requesting a time to meet with our lawyer as soon as possible.