What do you do if you know that your business or your supervisor is breaking the law by committing fraud against the company or its customers? Do you join in? What if you want to report the activities to the boss or to the authorities, will you lose your job?
A former manager at the Cape May, New Jersey Nature Conservancy office, Les Frie, claims that he was fired for reporting the theft of company funds by an office director, according to Courthouse News Service. Frie claims that he was singled out by the new office director because he had blown the whistle on the previous director, according to the complaint. He says that after reporting the retaliation from the new director, that he was further retaliated against by being put on probation at work and eventually fired.
Whistleblower protection laws were written to protect those that would report wrongdoing within a public or private company. The laws protect whistleblowers by levying fines against employers and in some cases punishing the retaliation with up to 10 years in jail.
A whistleblower is any person that reports the violation of any law by their company. This could range from reporting sexual harassment to reporting the violation of environmental pollution laws.
Here, Frie needs to show that there was retaliation upon retaliation. It seems as though he was punished by the new director for reporting the old director to the worldwide headquarters of The Nature Conservancy for embezzlement. Once he reported those actions to headquarters, he was punished further.
With these claims Frie will likely at least get past the motion to dismiss phase of his lawsuit. However, if The Nature Conservancy or other defendants can prove that he was given poor ratings and demoted for not working up to par, then Frie's claims will fall flat.
There is nothing more frustrating that being punished for trying to make things better. Hopefully Les Frie will continue to stand tall against those that retaliate against his whistleblowing at The Nature Conservancy.
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