(a) In the absence of fraud or malice, no person who furnishes information to officials of the State responsible for investigating false claims violations shall be liable for damages in a civil action for any oral or written statement made or any other action that is necessary to supply information required pursuant to this Part.
(b) Any employee of a provider who is discharged, demoted, suspended, threatened, harassed, or in any other manner discriminated against in the terms and conditions of employment by the employee's employer because of lawful acts done by the employee on behalf of the employee or others in furtherance of an action under G.S. 108A-70.12, including investigation for, initiation of, testimony for, or assistance in an action filed or to be filed under G.S. 108A-70.12, shall be entitled to all relief necessary to make the employee whole. Relief shall include reinstatement with the same seniority status as the employee would have had but for the discrimination, two times the amount of back pay, interest on the back pay, and compensation for any special damages sustained as a result of the discrimination, including litigation costs and reasonable attorneys' fees. An employee may bring an action in the appropriate court for the relief provided in this section. (1997-338, s. 1.)