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Constructive discharge could be seen as retaliation

As part of the False Claims Act, whistleblowers are protected from a series of retaliatory actions on the part of an employer. Companies in New York and throughout the country are not allowed to demote, suspend or otherwise discriminate against whistleblowers in their employment terms and conditions. However, there had been some question as to whether a constructive discharge was considered retaliation under the False Claims Act.

A decision from the 6th Circuit determined that it was. The case involved an employee of LHC Group, Inc. who would reimburse colleagues for expenses recorded on sheets of paper. However, the employee noticed that these forms were altered, and she felt that processing these claims would be fraud on her part as well. After the company took no action regarding the issue, the employee resigned citing fear of losing her nursing license and other potential negative consequences.

If an employee is forced to choose between quitting and engaging in illegal activity, it is considered to be a constructive discharge. This could be true even if the company wasn't going to terminate or otherwise retaliate against the employee. Ultimately, failing to address the concerns of an employee could be seen as an act of retaliation, and a jury may decide that the employer must take steps to make the employee whole again.

Those who believe that they were the victims of employer retaliation may wish to take legal action against the employer. This may result in an employee receiving back pay, punitive damages and other forms of relief as allowed by law. An attorney may be willing to review the case and assist an employee in attempting to hold an employer responsible for its actions. Cases may be resolved through a settlement as opposed to a formal jury verdict.

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