A whistleblower is essentially an individual who can provide crucial information that can instigate a court trial. Thus, a whistleblower lawsuit, which is also known as a qui tam or false claims suit, relies on the information provided by the whistleblower in order to proceed with legal proceedings against another individual or entity.
A whistleblower provides information that is vital in the prosecution or defense of an individual or entity. Usually, the whistleblower has inside information that may prove the guilt of the defendant in a court trial.
It is possible for whistleblower lawsuits to involve contracts between the federal government and a contractor. A whistleblower may provide details that confirm a contractor’s overcharging of services or goods in a transaction with the federal government. Plaintiffs in these whistleblower lawsuits are referred to as relators. If it is proven that a contractor has overcharged the government, the relator has the opportunity to receive a percentage, usually between 15 and 30 percent, of the money that has been recovered.
Whistleblower lawsuits commonly involve discrimination within the workplace as well as public health and safety issues. In the case of workplace discrimination, a plaintiff or several plaintiffs may provide testimony and evidence relating to wrongful termination, harassment, and other workplace issues. The case of public health and safety may involve issues regarding liability such as litigation involving tobacco companies and the health effects of smoking.
The most essential part of a whistleblower lawsuit is the whistleblower himself or herself. He or she must provide the information in a manner that does not compromise its integrity as well as his or her own integrity.