Tenth Circuit Rules That False Claims Act Does Not Cover Post-Employment Retaliation

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In Potts v. Center for Excellence in Higher Education, Inc., the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals recently held that “…the False Claims Act’s anti-retaliation provision unambiguously excludes relief for retaliatory acts occurring after the employee has left employment.”

In this case, Debbi Potts resigned her employment at Center for Excellence in Higher Education, then agreed not to contact any agency to file a complaint against it. She later did, reporting “alleged deceptions in maintaining [CEHE’s] accreditation,” which led to the organization suing her for breach of contract. The relator claimed this action violated the anti-retaliation provisions of the FCA.

The court ruled that the FCA only offers protection to “persons who were current employees when their employers retaliated against them.” It concluded that “[b]ecause Potts alleges that the [organization] retaliated against her after she resigned her employment, she cannot have a cognizable claim under the statute.”

Read the full post from Jackson Lewis at the  National Law Review