Whistleblower claims can go to court whenever there is some sort of corruption suspected, and an employee is retaliated against in any way for reporting those believed to be illegal activities. This means that cities can be sued, as well as large corporations and even small individually owned businesses.
One city learned this first hand after a former city clerk filed a whistleblower lawsuit after reporting what she believed to be illegal activities that the mayor was partaking in.
According to the woman’s lawsuit, she was fired from her position in December of 2009 after she reported to the state’s department of law enforcement that the mayor was charging the city for personal expenses – like a cell phone bill and a trip – without reimbursing the city. In addition, the former clerk also discovered that the mayor was not being forced to pay certain utility bills, like his city cable or water.
After reporting these findings, she was fired, and the city’s mayor told the state’s department of law enforcement that the charges were honest mistakes.
An investigation into the charges also decided that he was not purposely attempting to charge the city for his own personal gains.
In the end, the city decided to settle with the former city clerk and will pay her $150,000 in exchange for her dropping the whistleblower lawsuit. According to sources, the settlement does not equate to the city of mayor admitting guilt in any way.
Cases like this former clerk’s happen all the time throughout the country, including in California. Luckily, employees do have rights, and if they suffer from any type of retaliation after reporting what they believe to be illegal activities, there are legal actions that can be taken against that place of employment.
Employment Lawyer Los Angeles – Peter K. Levine
Source: The Walton Sun, “City paying $150K to settle whistleblower lawsuit,” 7 March 2011