Who Can Be A Relator
A whistleblower is a person who reports fraud on the government with the aim of ending the wrongful conduct. The individual who brings an action on behalf of the government against an individual or business is called a “relator.” The relator does not need to be harmed to bring the lawsuit and, in most instances, is not personally harmed by the defendants’ conduct. The action is based on the relator’s direct and independent knowledge of the wrongdoing.
Relators come from all industries and generally fall into three categories:
- Current and former employees
- Contractors and subcontractors
An employee who blows the whistle on his/her employer is one of the most common types of relators. Current employees who have evidence of wrongdoing by their employer often file a whistleblower action (also known as a “qui tam” action) after trying to stop the fraud through internal company reporting. Filing a qui tam action is typically the last resort for a whistleblower. Former employees often bring a qui tam action after being fired or retaliated against for trying to stop their employers’ wrongdoing. Employees, whether current or former, may bring a qui tam action even if they were participants in the wrongdoing or did nothing to stop it. However, if the employee is convicted of a crime arising from his/her role in the wrongdoing, he/she is precluded from proceeding with a qui tam action.
Contractors or subcontractors often bring a qui tam action when they learn of information about fraudulent activities while working with others on government projects.
Competitors often bring qui tam actions as a consequence of their interaction with business rivals. Typically, competitors obtain first-hand knowledge of false claims through conversations and exchanges of information with a business competitor.
Because the relator does not need to have a specific type of relationship with the wrongdoer, the categories of whistleblowers are endless. The essential requirement is that the relator possess information to which the general public or the government does not have access.
Freiberger Haber LLP is dedicated to providing experienced representation to whistleblowers looking to expose fraud on the government. If you choose to blow the whistle, the firm will evaluate your case and your eligibility as a relator under the False Claims Act to help you make an informed decision about whether to proceed with a qui tam action.