Category Archives: Whistleblower Claims

Quirky Question # 227, New Bells and Whistles in Minnesota Statute

Question:

We have an employee who we have been planning to terminate because of performance issues.  This employee may have realized this was coming because he recently sent an email to a number of people claiming that our company policies violate the law.  We have been aware of these possible problems before his emails were sent and already have been working on correcting them.  We suspect this employee may have sent these emails simply to shield himself from termination.  We are concerned that we may be subject to a “whistleblower” claim if we terminate this employee.  Can we still fire him despite his emails? Answer→

Quirky Question # 175: In-House Counsel Barred From Qui Tam Action Against Former Employer

Question:

I know you have written in the past about former in-house counsel suing their former employers in connection with their terminations. We have a slightly different twist on that situation. Our former in-house counsel has filed a qui tam lawsuit against our firm based on information he learned while employed and his supposition about what occurred after his employment ended. He apparently does not think this violates any Rules of Professional Conduct. His conduct, however, seems questionable to us, since he learned the underlying facts during the period he was employed. Can you provide any guidance? Answer→

Unethical or Illegal? Quirky Question # 146

Quirky Question # 146:

One of our employees recently complained about certain company practices that she contended were unethical.  She did not contend the company engaged in illegal activity — just unethical conduct.  We pointed out to her that we did not want someone working for the company if she truly believed we were engaging in unethical practices.  Our anxiety about this situation was exacerbated when she told us she had reported the company’s practices to the press and a government agency.  We fired her.  She now contends that she was a whistleblower, protected by Minnesota’s Whistleblower statute.  Should we be concerned? Answer→

Sarbanes-Oxley, Quirky Question # 74

Quirky Question # 74:

We have been having some performance issues with one of our mid-level marketing managers.  In October, we placed him on a performance improvement plan.  He has not been meeting the expectations established by the plan.  We are scheduled to meet with him about his performance again next week, and it is very likely that we will be moving him toward separation from the Company.  Yesterday, this individual complained to his manager that he was uncomfortable with the way that accounting manages travel receipts.  He reminded his manager about the Sarbanes-Oxley Act and noted that he wanted management to know that he was “blowing the whistle” on this accounting practice.  When pressed for details about his alleged concerns, the employee either could not describe what he found objectionable about corporate accounting’s handling of travel receipts or how he believes the process should be done.  It is obvious to us that he has no idea what he’s talking about and that this is just another way to try to avoid being terminated as a result of his performance issues.  We are a publicly-traded Company, so, of course, we have internal reporting and investigation procedures in place.  Must we really take this feeble “Sarbanes-Oxley complaint” seriously? Answer→