If you found out that something illegal -- something that could harm others -- was going on at your workplace, what would you do? Would you sit by and let it happen, or would you alert the right people to what was going on? Many West Virginia employees would choose to do the right thing and notify officials that illegal activity was taking place. As one West Virginia worker found out two years ago, however, this can unexpectedly lead to termination.
A man who used to be an administrator at the Eastern Regional Jail claims in a lawsuit that he was fired wrongly after reporting illegal behavior by correctional officers. He said he was tasked to investigate allegations of sexual harassment but was later fired for reporting too much to the wrong people -- people he said he was told to raise concerns to.
Now, he is seeking $250,000 for the alleged wrongful termination. Additionally, he is seeking punitive damages of $1 million. He also hopes that his case will lead to new policy in the jail that would protect whistleblowers. In fact, he is requesting that the court order the jail to implement such policies.
As we wait to see what becomes of this case, there are a few things our readers can take away from it. First, it is illegal for a person to be fired for reporting illegal behavior in a workplace. Whistleblowers should be protected by their employers, not ousted for speaking up. Second, if an employee is fired wrongly, it may be worth considering a wrongful termination lawsuit. If successful, a lawsuit can lead to compensation for a victim of wrongful termination.
Source: Herald-Mail, "Man files wrongful termination suit against W.Va Regional Jail and Correctional Facility Authority," March 21, 2013