Category: Whistleblower Retaliation

Philadelphia Employment Lawyers: VA Employee Wins Suit Against Pennsylvania County After Being Terminated for Political Affiliation

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In Wren v. County of Luzerne, No. 3:11-CV-1769 (M.D. Pa. May 12, 2016), Richard Wren, the Director of Luzerne County’s Veterans Affairs Department, claimed he was terminated for his support of a county commissioner. Two other county commissioners, who opposed the commissioner that Wren supported, began to terminate employees like Wren from county positions. Following his termination, Wren sued the county alleging that they violated the First and Fourteenth Amendments under the Civil Rights Act, Section 1983, and the Pennsylvania Human Relations Act.

The county argued that Wren’s termination was based on non-retaliatory reasons. Specifically, the county presented evidence that Wren had falsified a receipt, which they stated was immediate grounds for dismissal. Wren argued that the county used the falsified receipt as a pretext to terminate him. As evidence that he was terminated strictly for his political affiliations, Wren pointed to the fact that he was never subjected to any disciplinary action before being terminated. He sought to recover $106,000 in back pay and compensatory damages. The jury found that Wren’s political affiliation was a substantial or motivating factor for his termination and awarded him $200,000.

Philadelphia Employment Lawyers at Sidkoff, Pincus & Green Represent Employees in Cases Involving a Wrongful Termination

If you believe that you have been retaliated against or wrongfully terminated because of your political affiliation or other unjust causes, you may be entitled to file a claim against your employer. Contact the law firm of Sidkoff, Pincus & Green by calling 215-574-0600 today to schedule a confidential consultation with one of our experienced and highly skilled Philadelphia employment lawyers or contact us online.

Philadelphia Employment Lawyers: Bank of America Discrimination Claim

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A female banker at Bank of America has filed a lawsuit against her employer, alleging that the company underpays female employees, and that she was retaliated against for speaking up about the company’s illegal and unethical business practices. The banker, a 42-year-old single mother of three children, is seeking over six million dollars plus punitive damages and additional compensation. She filed suit in a Manhattan federal court, where many other cases are pending against Wall Street banks alleging similar claims.

The complainant asserts that during her tenure at Bank of America she suffered from an egregious pay disparity in comparison to her male coworkers, being paid less than half than the man who shares the same title she does.

In addition, she claims that the bank condoned acts of discriminatory conduct committed by her boss, and violated the federal Dodd-Frank whistleblower protections by suspending her after she made complaints about alleged illegal activity that harmed clients of the bank.

She alleges that she was treated more like an intern than a valued employee, and was asked demeaning questions such as whether her eyes have always been so blue. She also claims that she was banned from attending important client events.

She has accused the bank of other unlawful activities unrelated to discriminatory practices, such as refusing to tell regulators how a colleague falsified trading records to conceal lies he told a major client about prices. She claims that the man who held her same title (structured products chief) was “front running” by purchasing bonds for Bank of America despite knowing that a competitor wanted them, and rigging a debt auction to benefit a favored hedge fund in which Bank of America also participated.

In response, a spokesman for the Bank of America has stated that the company takes all allegations of inappropriate behavior seriously and investigates them thoroughly.

Philadelphia Employment Lawyers at Sidkoff, Pincus & Green Fight Unlawful Sex and Gender Discrimination

If you or someone you know has been the victim of unlawful discrimination or retaliation, the respected Philadelphia employment lawyers at Sidkoff, Pincus & Green can help you pursue legal action to hold the responsible parties accountable. To schedule a consultation, call us at 215-574-0600 or contact us online today. With offices conveniently located in Philadelphia, we represent businesses throughout Pennsylvania and South Jersey.

Philadelphia Employment Lawyers: CEO Harassment Allegations

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A former president of an Omnicom ad agency has sued the company’s CEO, Alexei Orlov, claiming that he was terminated in retaliation for complaining about Orlov’s harassing behavior. The plaintiff filed suit recently in a Los Angeles court, seeking damages and alleging a violation of the California Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA); failure to prevent discrimination and retaliation; retaliation in violation of the California Labor Code; and wrongful termination in violation of public policy. The case echoes another recent ad agency discrimination lawsuit where the chief communications officer of J. Walter Thompson accused the CEO of making racial and sexist slurs.

According to the Omnicon lawsuit, at one time Orlov pressured a young female employee who worked on the company’s Pfizer account to get him free Viagra directly from Pfizer, telling her that he needed the medication because he had a young wife.

The plaintiff also claims that Orlov failed to promote a female employee to the position of managing director because she was “too pretty” and no one would take her seriously.

Allegedly, after the plaintiff complained to Orlov about a drunken male co-worker who made inappropriate comments about a female coworker, Orlov dismissed the complaint because he did not want to see the employee reprimanded.

Orlov also allegedly made anti-Semitic comments to a Jewish employee, saying he was miserly with money because he was Jewish.

The plaintiff claims that after complaining to the agency’s global head of human resources and encouraging other staff members to do so, Orlov sent him a text message asking him why he did not first call him directly before going over his head. Less than a month later, the plaintiff was terminated.

Philadelphia Employment Lawyers at Sidkoff, Pincus & Green Fight for Victims of Harassment and Retaliation

If you are facing harassment or discrimination at work, there are certain steps you can take to protect your rights. The experienced Philadelphia employment lawyers at Sidkoff, Pincus & Green handle all types of employment-related claims, including retaliation, wrongful termination, sexual harassment, EEOC claims, wage and hour/overtime violations, and more. If you are being harassed, check your company’s reporting requirements and report your concerns to the party designated to receive complaints. To speak to a qualified lawyer about your case, call us at 215-574-0600 or contact us online today. With offices conveniently located in Philadelphia, we represent clients throughout Southeastern Pennsylvania and South Jersey.

Philadelphia Whistleblower Lawyers: Whistleblowing Cause of Termination

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Pennsylvania Plaintiff Fails to Demonstrate that Whistleblowing Caused Her Termination

Although Pennsylvania lacks a common law action for wrongful termination of at-will employees, such employees may have a cause of action in several limited circumstances. For a wrongful termination claim to be viable, the at-will employee must show that the termination violates a clear mandate of public policy.

In the recent Pennsylvania case, Auman v. Family Planning Plus, Plaintiff, an at-will employee of Family Planning Plus accused her employer of terminating her for whistleblowing. Plaintiff made a claim under the Pennsylvania Whistleblower Law (“PWL”) – a public policy exception to the at will doctrine. To be successful under the PWL, Plaintiff needed to show both a protected report of wrongdoing and a connection between the report and termination showing cause.

Plaintiff made several allegations of misconduct on the part of her employer and filed complaints against Family Planning Plus.  However, the Court ruled that Plaintiff’s accusations did not show concrete facts linking the whistleblowing to her termination. Plaintiff was not specifically directed to not file a report, and the Court found that there was no indication that her whistleblowing caused any adverse action toward Plaintiff. The Court stated that vague and inconclusive circumstantial evidence fails to satisfy this initial burden. If Plaintiff had shown that her whistleblowing negatively affected her career and resulted in her termination, the burden would have shifted to Family Planning Plus to show a separate and legitimate reason for the adverse action suffered by Plaintiff.

For more information on employment law and retaliation matters, call our employment lawyers in Philadelphia at Sidkoff, Pincus & Green at 215-574-0600 or contact us online.

Philadelphia Employment Lawyers: Retaliation Claim Proceeds in Court

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Eastern District of Pennsylvania Allows Employee’s Retaliation Claims to Proceed

In Betz v. Temple Health Systems the Eastern District of Pennsylvania ruled in favor of Plaintiff, allowing her to proceed with her retaliation claim against Defendant Temple Health Systems.

While working at Temple Health Systems, Plaintiff, a registered nurse, repeatedly complained to her supervisors and executive management about persistent sexual harassment, inappropriate touching and groping. Temple Health Systems Plaintiff’s allegations and determined that her complaints did not amount to sexual harassment or retaliation. Plaintiff then filed a charge of discrimination with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. Shortly thereafter, Temple Health Systems suspended and then fired Plaintiff. Temple Health Systems alleged that the suspension and termination were not in retaliation for Plaintiff’s complaints, but rather the result of a serious medical error that Plaintiff committed, which she subsequently attempted to hide by altering patient records.

In Betz, the Court found that “the employer’s statements in combination with the relatively short timeframe between the filing of the employee’s EEOC charge and her suspension formed the basis for establishing a prima facie case of retaliation under Title VII and the PHRA.” The Court also found that the Temple Health System’s proffered reason was sufficient to allow a factfinder to conclude that the employer suspended and terminated the employee for a legitimate non-discriminatory reason. However, the Court found there was sufficient evince of pretext because a factfinder could reasonably draw such a conclusion because a manager told Plaintiff that she would be fired if she kept on complaining, and that ‘[i]f you don’t shut your mouth, you’re next because you already complained and we’re sick of hearing from you’; and after the employee filed her EEOC Charge, the manager told her that she ‘made a big mistake by going to the EEOC.’”

For more information on employment law matters, call our employment lawyers in Philadelphia at Sidkoff, Pincus & Green at 215-574-0600 or contact us online.

Philadelphia Whistleblower Lawyers: Endo Pharmaceuticals Whistleblower to Receive $33.6 Million

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Endo Pharmaceuticals whistleblower Peggy Ryan has been awarded $33.6 million as a result of the qui tam complaint she filed against the company in 2005. Ryan’s payout constitutes roughly 24% of the federal government’s cut of the $171.9 million settlement Endo agreed to pay for illegally promoting the drug Lidoderm for off-label use.

While the U.S. Government disputes the 24% figure, arguing that she should receive only 19%, U.S. District Judge Robert F. Kelly ruled that Ryan’s “extraordinary” contributions to the near decade-long litigation merited a larger sum. In his memorandum, Judge Kelly noted that Ryan “nurtured the flame at the darkest times when a favorable outcome seemed most remote” and “enabled the government investigatory team to recover evidence which would have otherwise been unobtainable”.

In a statement to the Legal Intelligencer, Peggy Ryan’s attorney wrote, “It is never easy to be a whistleblower, especially when a case goes on for a decade, but Ms. Ryan has remained dedicated to the cause of exposing fraud…We hope Judge Kelly’s decision to grant Ms. Ryan close to the maximum percentage will encourage other individuals with evidence of fraud against the government to come forward.”

Philadelphia Whistleblower Lawyers at Sidkoff, Pincus & Green protect those who expose Fraudulent Government Practices

Qui Tam Lawyers in Philadelphia at Sidkoff, Pincus & Green have extensive experience protecting whistleblowers who have evidence of fraud against the government. Whistleblowers often have information and evidence that would otherwise be unobtainable, however it takes a great deal of courage to come forward. Our Philadelphia whistleblower lawyers understand that disclosing fraudulent behavior puts employees in a vulnerable position. For knowledgeable legal counsel regarding whistleblower actions, call our Philadelphia, Pennsylvania law offices at 215-574-0600 to schedule a consultation or submit an inquiry online.

Philadelphia Whistleblower Lawyers : Vanguard Accused of $1 Billion Tax Fraud

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The city of Philadelphia is home to one of the most active jurisdictions for Qui Tam lawsuits. A Quit Tam suit is a type of lawsuit brought by a third party whistleblower on behalf of the government. In the United States, under the False Claims Act, 31 U.S.C. § 3729 et seq., “an individual with knowledge past or present of fraud committed against the federal government may bring suit its behalf”. If their case recovers funds for the government, a whistleblower can be awarded substantial sums of money as a percentage of the settlement.

Pennsylvania based investment company Vanguard Group, which manages nearly $3 trillion in assets, is currently in the midst of a qui tam suit brought by its former employee David Danon, who alleges that the company illegally manipulated transfer pricing to keep costs artificially low. Danon’s suit states that after expressing serious concerns about the transfer pricing arrangements, the company brushed aside his concerns and eventually fired him.

Vanguard filed a motion to dismiss the case, arguing that as a former tax attorney for the company, Danon cannot file suit against them. Furthermore, Vanguard alleges that Danon improperly used privilege and confidential information to bring the suit.

The lead counsel in Danon’s suit, Stephen Sorenson of Thomas, Alexander & Forrester LLP remains optimistic about the suit, stating in an interview with Forbes Magazine that he is hoping for a hearing by early next year. The suit alleges a violation of federal and state tax laws, costing taxpayers more than $1 billion.

Philadelphia qui tam lawyers at Sidkoff, Pincus and Green represent third party whistleblowers throughout Philadelphia and New Jersey.  If you or someone you know needs a whistleblower lawyer in Philadelphia call Sidkoff, Pincus and Green at 215-574-0600, or complete and online contact form to schedule a consultation today.

Philadelphia Whistleblower Lawyers: OSHA’s Enforcement of Whistleblower Protection Laws

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Earlier this month, OSHA secured an injunction in a whistleblower case that prevents the Lear Corporation – a Michigan-based auto parts company – from any further retaliation against whistleblower, Kimberly King. This injunction is significant in that it protects Ms. King, and other whistleblowers, from speaking out against the company, including disclosures to media outlets.

Kimberly King worked at the Renosol Seating plant in Selma, Alabama, which is owned by the Lear Corporation. The plant produces foam cushions that are used in car seats. When King’s health began to deteriorate, she began to question the effects of her exposure to a chemical called toluene diisocyanate, or TDI. Since she started working at the plant in 2004, King has developed asthma, and often gets winded from walking up one flight of stairs. Although Lear reported that TDI levels were within legal limits, King remained unconvinced and shared her concerns with the media.

King told her story to, who released an article discussing the correlation between TDI, and other workplace chemicals, and respiratory conditions like asthma. A consulting physician concluded that the levels of TDI antibodies in King’s blood placed her in the top 25%. According an occupational health specialist at the University Of Cincinnati College Of Medicine, workers can become sensitized when exposed to these chemicals. As a result, exposure to even small amounts of TDI can cause health issues like asthma and other respiratory conditions.

Lear suspended King from work without pay after she and another employee participated in a YouTube video accusing Lear of exposing employees to dangerous levels of TDI. After King continued to voice her concerns, Lear terminated her employment and sued her for defamation and interference with business relations.

After an evidentiary hearing, the court ruled in King’s favor, declaring that her participation in the YouTube video and her comments to the press and OSHA were considered protected activity. In addition, the judge ordered the Lear Corporation to halt any retaliatory action against King, or any other former or current employee.

The court’s ruling in this case asserts that the public deserves a safe and healthy workplace, and those who speak up about perceived dangers should be protected by the law. Moreover, the outcome of this case may help prevent future retaliation against whistleblowers.

Philadelphia Retaliation Lawyers at Sidkoff, Pincus & Green Protect the Rights of Whistleblowers

If you believe you have a whistleblower claim, contact the experienced Philadelphia whistleblower lawyers at Sidkoff, Pincus & Green. Our team of will work tirelessly to protect your rights and reach a favorable financial settlement. With offices conveniently located in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, our business lawyers represent clients throughout the Delaware Valley. Call the Law Offices of Sidkoff, Pincus & Green at 215-574-0600 to schedule your free consultation or contact us online.