Monday, July 27, 2015

Fake Whistleblower Techniques Employees Are Using to Cost Employers in Terminations

This is part of a longer post by the fine folks over at Coyote Blog.  It is yet another example of how hard it is to employ folks in California.  I've seen the same kind of thing happen and thought the author was lucky it only cost $20,000.  Something like this can easily get up to $50,000 in legal fees.  Yes, shelling out $20,000 to $50,000 in legal fees constitutes an employer "victory." Welcome to California: 
... Many employees have discovered a legal dodge to enhance their post-employment lawsuits (I know that several advocacy groups in California recommend this tactic).  If the employee suspects he or she is about to be fired, they will, before getting fired, claim all sorts of past discrimination.  Now, when terminated, they can claim they where a whistle blower that that their termination was not for cause but really was retaliation against them for being a whistle-blower. 
I remember one employee in California taking just this tactic, claiming discrimination just ahead of his termination, though he never presented any evidence beyond the vague claim.  We wasted weeks with an outside investigator checking into his claims, all while customer complaints about the employee continued to come in.  Eventually, we found nothing and fired him.  And got sued.  The case was so weak it was eventually dropped but it cost us -- you guessed it -- about $20,000 to defend.  Given that this was more than the entire amount this operation had made over five years, it was the straw that broke the camel's back and led to us walking about from that particular operation and over half of our other California business.