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U of M Settles Whistleblower Lawsuit

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U of M Settles Whistleblower Lawsuit

For those in the dark on whistleblower cases and lawsuits, here is a quick summary: all of these legal situations involve an employee essentially “blowing the whistle” on a company committing misconduct. Some major examples include Jeffrey Wigand exposing Phillip Morris for knowingly selling addictive products, or Frank Serpico bringing to light corrupt practices in the New York police force. In a recent whistleblower case involving University of Michigan, a former employee blew the whistle on the organization due to an alleged wrongful termination. The university settled for $300,000.

Is This Whistleblower Settlement an Admission of Guilt?

Not necessarily. Whistleblower lawsuits involve large scales of money attributed to cases that could be potentially dragged out for years. It’s a method to avoid a trial and potential bad publicity.

The claimant in this case was Amy J. Wang, former executive in technology services and then finance, commanding a $200,000 annual salary. She was let go. She claimed that the Associate Vice President of Finance demanded that she commit perjury to U.S. Customs and Immigration Services about the legal duties of temporary, full-time employees. This would constitute a violation on the organization’s part, consisting of what could be considered a “counter-sue” for U of M firing her: an interesting prospect, and one holding enough water for U of M to consider settling confidentially on December 3, 2018.

The university did completely deny ever compelling Wang to lie about full-time employment guidelines for non-U.S. residents. They did insist that administrators correct the information on her file, establishing Visa renewal independent of Wang’s intentions.

Wang stated otherwise in the story, assuming that her work duties had to be revised with removal of management duties and a pay reduction of $9,500. This resulted in serious conflict and a request for resignation under threat of termination due to her refusal to lie to U.S. Customs. It didn’t change the fact that Wang pointed out wrongdoing at the extreme, and without a doubt, the university was penalized for it at the very least in terms of reputation. Even through settlement, the picture has been painted.

If You See Something Illegal in the Workplace, You Have a Right to Report It

If you see something illegal or unethical happening at your workplace, report it. Make sure to consult an employment attorney first. They can offer confidential consultations so you can fully explore your options. There are protections available and even incentives for exposing harmful practices. An employment lawyer can answer all your questions and make sure you have a full understanding of your rights.


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