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Retaliation Claims under the Federal False Claims Act

Section 3730(h) of the False Claims Act prohibits retaliation against an individual asserting a violation of the Act.  The statute provides: “Any employee, contractor, or agent shall be entitled to all relief necessary to make that employee, contractor, or agent whole, if that employee, contractor, or agent is discharged, demoted, suspended, threatened, harassed, or in any other manner discriminated against in the terms and conditions of employment because of lawful acts done by the employee, contractor, agent or associated others in furtherance of an action under this section or other efforts to stop one or more violations of this subchapter.” 31 U.S.C. Section 3730(h).  This is known as the anti-retaliation provision of the False Claims Act.

To establish a claim under Section 3730(h), a plaintiff must show “(1) he engaged in protected conduct, (i.e., acts done in furtherance of an action under Section 3730) and (2) that he was discriminated against because of his protected conduct.”  U.S. ex rel. Hefner v. Hackensack Univ. Med. Ctr., 495 F.3d 103, 110 (3d Cir. 2007).  “For a plaintiff to demonstrate that he was discriminated against because of conduct in furtherance of a False Claims Act suit, a plaintiff must show that (1) his employer had knowledge he was engaged in protected conduct; and (2) that his employer’s retaliation was motivated, at least in part, by the employee’s engaging in protected conduct.” Id. at 111

Section 3730(h) protects a wide variety of conduct, including investigation for, initiation of, testimony for, or assistance in bringing a claim under the False Claims Act.  Campion v. Ne. Utilities, 598 F. Supp. 2d 638, 648 (M.D.Pa. 2009).  Determining what activities constitute protected conduct under the statute is a fact specific inquiry.

If you think you might be a victim of retaliation for asserting a violation of the False Claims Act, please contact the experienced lawyers at Sidkoff, Pincus & Green in Philadelphia, who are licensed to practice law in all courts in Pennsylvania and New Jersey.