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City, police bureau faced with whistleblowing lawsuit

Employees in Wisconsin and elsewhere around the country are often asked to evaluate various work processes and procedures as part of their jobs. Their reports may include findings of inefficiencies and result in recommendations for improvements to the systems involved. However, an employee in another state claims he experienced discrimination after he identified a massive amount of waste in an IT system. He has filed a whistleblowing complaint, stating that his career has been threatened after he raised the issue of waste in the company.

The employee was a police officer who had been with his department since 2012. In his evaluation of the information technology programs at the police bureau, he reported that millions of dollars had been paid to a professional services company that developed software. The company was hired to upgrade the technology for the bureau; however, the improvements and updates were never done.

The employee provided a detailed list of payments made to the company for specific services. Reports that detailed how funding was spent had to be submitted to the government. Evidently, the reports indicated that the company had completed the specified projects, when the work had not been done.

The officer claimed that though he scored highly in several areas, he did not get promoted.  His complaint also states that members of the bureau and their family members used racial slurs when referring to him.  Officials at the police bureau reportedly said the man was not promoted because of his dishonesty, untrustworthiness and violation of various rules.

Workers in Wisconsin are protected from retaliation in the workplace when they bring information of their employers' wrongdoings to light. However, retaliation against whistleblowing can still occur. If someone has experienced discrimination of this type, it would be wise to contact an employment law attorney for assistance.

Source: post-gazette.com, "Pittsburgh police officer files federal whistleblower lawsuit against city, assistant chief", Paula Reed Ward, Feb. 19, 2018

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