Fired for Taking Time Off
A Lawrence, Mass. city worker was fired from his public works job for allegedly taking too much time off to care for his dying wife. According to a news report in The Lookout, Tom Sapienza is preparing to file an employment lawsuit alleging reverse racial discrimination. His attorneys say that Sapienza, a 41-year-old maintenance worker at Lawrence High School, would not have been fired had he been of a different race. Sapienza was fired after refusing to return from an unpaid leave of absence that he took to care for his wife, Heather, who died January 3, 2013 after a 19-month battle with brain cancer.
The man who was hired to replace Sapienza was fired police sergeant and former state Rep. Jose Santiago. Santiago has apparently been arrested for violating a restraining order obtained by his ex-girlfriend. City Council members are now calling for Santiago’s firing as well. Read the rest »
Have you applied for jobs only to be turned away? Do you suspect that your age may be a factor in the employers’ decision not to hire you? Many older people are back in the job market, and finding a job in such a competitive environment may not be easy.
Age discrimination is illegal in California. Employee discrimination based on any arbitrary factors may be grounds for a lawsuit against the offending company or its management.
However, it is not always easy to prove age discrimination. Several laws and cases are involved in deciding if an employer is liable for discrimination, and an employment lawyer must examine each case on an individual basis to determine if the employee or a potential employee has a claim. Read the rest »
In an earlier blog post we gave the definition of a whistle-blower, discussed how the process works for becoming a whistle-blower, and who can become a whistle-blower.
In this post we will highlight the pros and cons of becoming a whistle blower.
Depending on whom you’re talking with or about, a whistle-blower could be revered as a standup and morally sound person who does what’s right, or decried as an opportunistic individual only looking to get himself ahead, or worse, as somebody who is untrustworthy and betrayed his friends and colleagues.
Ultimately, these different views shed a lot of light on the top considerations you have to go through in your own head before taking that step to be a whistleblower.
The positives of being a whistle-blower
- Your decision to move ahead or not will depend greatly on your internal scale of weighing the pros and cons of a particular circumstance or situation. You may feel very strongly that a particular action, set of actions, policy or anything else is very detrimental or purposely misleading, or simply against the law, and that something needs to be done about this. The pro then is helping the greater good, putting an end to that, and being able to live with yourself morally.
- Another potential positive outcome would be a reward from the SEC or another agency. These rewards may be hard to come by though for a whistleblower, based upon strict and rigid requirements and rules. Another form of reward would be based on a potentially likely outcome of you being fired, demoted or held back in your company, which could lead to direct legal action and settlements in your favor.
The negatives of being a whistle-blower
- The ramifications may be more far reaching than you may think. In your own mind, being a whistleblower means taking a positive, moral action. But for many people, the person who ends up blowing the whistle, so to speak, ends up as the one who is untrustworthy or unsavory.
- People do not like being betrayed, and even if you did “the right thing”, you could tarnish your reputation. This includes directly in your current position with your bosses, coworkers and colleagues, as well as potentially across your industry as you look for other employers. A great deal of negativity could end up being pushed in your direction, and people will find plenty of bad things to say, whether they accuse you of wrongdoing and fault or otherwise point the finger back at you, talk about you publicly and so forth.
- Theoretically, in many situations there are regulations in place for confidential or anonymous whistle blowing. In practice though, this won’t always play out in that fashion, whether people draw their own conclusions or the information comes out and is confirmed through one means or another.
Clearly, there’s a lot at stake in this situation, and you must consider many different factors, weighing these benefits and drawbacks for yourself. Before you take that leap and decide to be a whistleblower, be sure to protect yourself by seeking legal counsel. And if you are already facing backlash as a result of this type of action, you should also immediately seek the assistance of an experienced attorney who can pick up your cause.
If you are the victim of a defective product or medical device you are urged to seek legal advice from a personal injury attorney.
Contact us today for a free legal consultation at 1-800-561-4887.
You may have heard the term whistleblower, but maybe you do not know exactly how the process of a whistle blower works or who can become a whistle blower. The definition of a whistle blower according to the Merriam-Webster dictionary is: “one who reveals something covert or who informs against another <pledges to protect whistle–blowers who fear reprisals”
A lawsuit brought on by a whistle blower is known as a qui tam lawsuit or qui tam action.
This is usually the case when a large corporation is guilty of wrongdoing and someone on the inside knows about it and decides to blow the whistle on them. This has been the case in lawsuits related to defective products where someone working closely to the maker of the product such as an employee or government contractor becomes a whistle blower.
However honorable a deed whistle blowing may be, it can be dangerous to the whistle blower for a few reasons. Obviously the first one is the risk of being fired or demoted. The good news is the whistle blower is usually compensated for this since they are the good guy doing the good deed.
You might remember the GE qui tam case where whistle blower Khaled Asadi was fired for reporting allegations of GE Foreign Corrupt Practices Act violations in Iraq to his supervisor and GE Energy’s ombudsperson. He was not entitled to protection or compensation for being fired because GE and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce required that whistle blowers report allegations internally, yet when he did he was fired because he did not report to the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). Read the full story at forbes.com.
Unfortunately there is no way to predict what the actual outcome of an investigation will be and the whistle blower is taking a risk.
- He or she could end up without a job and no compensation
- Or continued employment and whatever ramifications might come with an investigation that leads to major changes within the corporate structure.
Our defective product lawyers in Orange County have been successfully receiving large settlements for our clients for 30 years. We are passionate about stopping the bad guys and we have proven results.
Contact us today for a free legal consultation at 1-800-561-4887.
Steven Langstaff, a former employee with the Oceano Community Services District, has filed a federal employment lawsuit against the district alleging discrimination based on age and disability. According to a news report in the San Luis Obispo Tribune, Langstaff alleges in the lawsuit that he was wrongfully terminated and denied his due process rights.
Langstaff started working for the district in June 2006. However, he says he had to take time off for surgery and other medical issues. Langstaff says his manager disparaged him for taking time off and not being “on board” with the district’s operations. He also alleges that supervisors assigned him more demanding physical jobs and kept lighter work for younger staff members.
Langstaff was fired from his job on December 13, 2011 at age 52. He says in the lawsuit that the termination has caused him significant financial loss and emotional distress. He is seeking compensation for lost earnings, benefits, employment opportunities, pain and suffering, attorney fees and court costs. District officials have disputed these allegations. Read the rest »
A home nursing agency in Los Angeles has agreed to pay $654,082 to settle a complaint that employees were not properly compensated for overtime worked. According to a news report in the Business Management Daily, Extended Health Care Private Duty Nursing was the subject of a federal probe. A U.S. Department of Labor Wage and Hour Division investigation showed that the company paid some of its employees “straight time” although their hours exceeded the regular 40 hours a week schedule.
The probe revealed that even the company’s longest-tenured employees got only time and one-quarter for their overtime hours. Although some of the employees received the overtime mandated by federal labor laws, they were required to work more than 80 hours in a biweekly payroll period. In addition, the investigation revealed that some of employees were misclassified as independent contractors. Under the settlement agreement, 108 nurses will recover back pay. Read the rest »