Unethical and illegal practices can happen in the workplace, despite state and federal laws put in place to prevent them. When these become obvious, you may need to speak out. Unfortunately, whistleblower retaliation is common and is meant to discourage employees from taking any type of action against their employers. Find out how the Illinois False Claims Act can help to protect you in this situation.
What is the Illinois False Claims Act?
The Illinois False Claims Act (740 ILCS 175/1) was enacted in 1991. It protects whistleblowers by allowing them to share information about fraudulent acts committed against the state in the workplace and to file a lawsuit on its behalf, sharing in any monetary damages agreed on in a final settlement or awarded through a court judgment. It applies in cases in which employers are alleged to have engaged in any of the following:
- Knowingly presenting or conspiring to present a false or fraudulent claim for payment or approval against the state;
- Knowingly making or conspiring to make a false statement to avoid repayments to the state;
- Knowingly delivering or conspiring to deliver less than the total amount owed.
- Knowingly making or conspiring to make a false statement or record material to a false claim;
- Knowingly buying or receiving property from the state which is otherwise not authorized.
How the Illinois FCA Protects Whistleblowers
The Illinois FCA is one of several state laws designed to protect whistleblowers. There are also a number of federal rules and regulations listed by the U.S. Department of Labor that apply in these situations, protecting workers who speak out against unsafe, unfair, or illegal conditions and preventing employers from taking adverse actions against them, including firing, laying off, or demoting them, reducing hours or pay, and denying overtime.
In terms of the Illinois FCA, how exactly does it protect whistleblowers? It allows them to bring a civil lawsuit against their employer on behalf of the state, which may require the employer to pay the following:
- Minimum penalties per false claim of $5,000;
- Maximum penalties per false claim of $11,000;
- Treble damages, which equal three times the total amount of other financial penalties they are required to pay.
The Illinois FCA provides important job protections for whistleblowers, protecting them against retaliation on the job, and entitles them to anywhere between 15% and 30% of any monetary damages awarded. Depending on the case, this could total hundreds of thousands of dollars.
Request a Consultation With Our Chicago Whistleblower Attorneys
At The Law Office of Mitchell A. Kline, we protect workers against whistleblower retaliation and help them get the compensation they may be entitled to in an Illinois FCA claim. To request a confidential consultation, call or contact our Chicago whistleblower attorneys online today.