Philadelphia Employment Law News

Two District Employees Fired In Whistleblowing Case

District employees John Byers, a procurement director, and Francis Dougherty, who worked under Deputy Superintendent Leroy Nunery, were both initially suspended at the end of last year for whistleblowing information on a contract switch from a white-owned enterprise to a black-owned one.

Superintendent Arlene Ackerman had placed the two men and four other employees on a two-week paid leave this past December as Pepper Hamilton LP investigated the issue regarding the “apparent inconsistencies in the distribution of prime contracts to vendors.”

But the Philadelphia Daily News reported Byers and Dougherty were ultimately fired at the end of March after an investigation that lasted for several months.

Pepper Hamilton had discovered electronic conversations between 35 district employees, the media, and other outside sources. Byers and Dougherty were among those included in the find.

The firm later confirmed that there was also no evidence of any unlawful motives in having IBS Communication Inc., a Philadelphia-based company, install several cameras in the district's 19 schools after the contract was made with Newtown's Security and Data Technologies Inc.

John Byers and Francis Dougherty had been kept on paid-leave throughout the investigation and even after the four other workers had gone back to work in January. A district source said the two were eventually identified as alleged moles in the whistleblowing case and were expected to receive their last paycheck sometime this month.

However, they will not be receiving any accrued or unused pay for their vacation, personal, or sick time because the district reportedly fired them with cause or for a legitimate reason.

For more general information on employee rights after losing a job, visit the Related Resources links below.

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