Fifth Circuit Applies McDonnell Douglas and Shackleford in Retaliation Claims under False Claims Act

After ten years of work with Professional Contract Services, Inc., Esteban Garcia stepped forward as a whistleblower to reveal allegations against his employer. Two months later the company terminated Garcia for failing to service the jobs to which he was assigned. Garcia sued for retaliation under the False Claims Act. The district court granted summary judgment to the company due to Garcia’s lack of a prima facie case. The Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals applied the “McDonnell Douglas framework to the False Claim Act’s anti-retaliation provision.” The prima facie case detailed in the initial step of this framework requires only that the employee establish a “causal connection” between the protected activity and the firing. The Fifth Circuit found Garcia established that connection. Keep reading for more on the Fifth Circuit’s reasoning regarding retaliation claims.