It is important to know the pros and cons of being a whistleblower. While it is easy to see the upside to filing a whistleblower case under the False Claims Act: significant monetary recovery if successful. There are also cons to filing a whistleblower case. The cons should be weighed with the pros when decided to file.
Below is a summary of the Pros and Cons of being a whistleblower. If you are considering filing a case under the False Claims Act, you should consult with an experienced qui tam attorney to walk you through these pros and cons. You should weigh these pros and cons so that you can make the best decision for you and your family.
Pros of Filing a Qui Tam Case
If a whistleblower is successful in bringing his/her qui tam case, he/she will receive a monetary award. More specifically, under the False Claims Act Statute, 31 U.S.C. § 3730(d), if the government recovers money as a result of a qui tam complaint filed, the filer will get paid. The filer will receive 15-25% of the recovery (i.e., relator share) if the case was intervened in. The filer will receive 25-30% of the recovery (i.e., relator share) if the case was declined. These percentages can amount to a significant sum, depending on the loss to the government as a result of the fraud.
Another potential pro of filing a qui tam case is when it comes out from under seal, the whistleblower might be perceived as “doing the right thing.” The whistleblower might be perceived as being extremely ethical.
A third pro of filing a qui tam case, is the whistleblower will likely “feel like they did the right thing” by speaking up. These are important points when weighing the pros and cons of being a whistleblower.
Cons of Filing a Qui Tam Case
Defendants have ways to discourage filing whistleblower cases. These tactics include filing counterclaims alleging the whistleblower stole documents. Or the defendant could allege the whistleblower breached a confidentiality agreement. A whistleblower should consult with an experienced qui tam attorney to discuss these counterclaims.
When the qui tam case comes out from under seal, if successful or (and more so) if not successful, defendants or the industry might perceive the whistleblower as a “snitch,” “troublemaker,” or “disloyal.” And as a result, if the whistleblower is still employed by the defendant, he/she might be fired. After being fired the whistleblower might have a difficult time obtaining a job in the industry.
Again, important to keep these in mind when weighing the pros and cons of being a whistleblower.