In the media:
- Michigan Lawyers Weekly "Counsel: Employee forced out after reporting suspected fraud" 12/15/2017
Facts of case:
This was a Whistleblower Protection Act (WPA) and Wrongful Discharge in Violation of Public Policy (WDPP) case in which the Plaintiff/employee, Glenn Gray, reported, amongst other things, suspected Medicaid fraud to his “public body” employer, and further, refused to go along with the said Medicaid fraud. For this, Mr. Gray (a 7-year employee with an excellent work history) was quickly suspended and then driven out, a constructive discharge. Because he is a well-educated and highly-qualified person, Mr. Gray quickly found new employment such that his past wage loss was limited to $17,898.
In this case, the Defense made all the usual arguments, including especially (1) trying to convince the Circuit Court to “judicially legislate” onto MCLA 15.362 of the WPA that an employee’s report of a suspected violation of law must be “in writing” and (2) attempting to convince the Circuit Court that WPA and WDPP claims are always mutually exclusive.
Fortunately, the Circuit Court Judge in this case was the same Judge who presided over the $232,500 verdict we won from the jury in the WPA case of Whitman v. City of Burton, 493 Mich. 303 (2013). Just as his ruling in Whitman was ultimately affirmed by the Michigan Supreme Court that MCLA 15.362 is a clear and unambiguous statute such that nothing is to be judicially legislated out of or onto it, he recognized in the case at hand that the reports do not have to be “in writing” for the reason that those words are not in MCLA 15.362.
Additionally, the Circuit Court correctly recognized that a WPA cause of action and a WDPP cause of action are not always mutually exclusive. He recognized that that is the general rule, but that there are exceptions. Here, the Circuit Court followed the published case law which provides that because an employee’s refusal to violate a law is not something that is covered by the WPA, then a WDPP claim brought on this basis cannot be preempted.
After Defendants’ Motion for Summary Disposition was denied, the case settled for the ADR Award of $125,000.