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Whistleblowing: Man received damages for lost future wages, grief

Employees in Wisconsin and elsewhere in the country have the protection to report a company's wrongdoings without the fear of losing their jobs. This so-called whistleblowing is protected by the Whistleblower Protection Act that was passed in 1989. A company in another state was required to pay a former employee for lost future earnings as well as an amount for the mental anguish he suffered when he was terminated from his job.

The man worked as a manager for the state's turnpike commission. He was responsible for the analysts and programmers who developed financial reports. As the organization was receiving bids from companies to computerize the reporting system, the man was concerned that one company seemed to have an unfair advantage. He expressed his concern; however, he was told to not make waves or his job may be in danger. While the company received the bid for the system, yet failed to deliver on its promises, the man continued to voice his complaints.

The employee was terminated and was told the action was due to budgetary constraints. However, he felt that the termination was a result of his continued complaints of mismanagement. He sued the company for violating the Whistleblower Law and was awarded $1.6 million for lost future earnings. He also received an equal amount for the humiliation and harm to his reputation caused by the firing. The turnpike commission had argued that only actual damages were specified in the law; however, the interpretation was made that compensation for emotional suffering would be included in that amount.

Employees in Wisconsin have the right to voice their concerns about illegal activities in the workplace without fear of repercussions. If an employee believes he or she has been wrongfully terminated after whistleblowing, an employment law attorney can be of assistance. An experienced lawyer can help clients through the litigation process as they seek a favorable outcome in the proceedings.

Source: mcall.com, "In a first, Pennsylvania Supreme Court OKs noneconomic damages for turnpike whistleblower", Peter Hall, March 27, 2018

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