The qui tam provisions of the False Claims Act aim to encourage whistleblowers to report the fraud by providing protection for whistleblowers and financial incentives. The Federal False Claims Act (and those of many states) prohibits retaliation against whistleblowers and provides meaningful remedies, such as double back pay, emotional distress and punitive damages, if the employer does not abide.
Although whistleblowers are often protected under law from employer retaliation, there have been many cases where punishment for whistle blowing has occurred, such as termination and mobbing, an extreme form of work place bullying. Here are some whistleblower cases in recent history.
In 1996, Dr. Jeffrey Wigand, former vice president of research and development of Brown & Williamson an American company, was instrumental in bringing about new regulations in the tobacco industry. During a television interview on 60 Minutes. Dr. Wigland made the bold statement that cigarettes were the “delivery device for nicotine”. His interview shocked many as he revealed that tobacco companies knew nicotine was addictive, that carcinogenic material such as ammonia was knowingly added to cigarettes to increase nicotine delivery and increase addictiveness. Dr. Wigand also revealed that research exploring the dangers of cigarettes was suppressed and that attempts to develop a “safer” cigarette were axed. In 1998 the tobacco industry was ordered to pay a $206 billion dollar settlement out to 46 US states for the costs of treating sick smokers. This whistle blowing case formed the basis of the Russell Crowe film The Insider.
Glaxo Smith Kline
Former GlaxoSmithKline employee Cheryl Eckard, won $96 million in what is believed to be the largest award ever given to an individual U.S. whistleblower. The award is part of the $750 million the drug maker is paying to settle government fraud charges over its manufacturing practices. In the Glaxo settlement, Eckard, 51, was a member of...