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City of Flint settles wrongful termination lawsuit before trial

Michigan residents concerned with employment law might have seen the headlines about a recent settlement between the city of Flint and a longtime finance department employee. The man sued the city for wrongful termination, among other damages, and Flint agreed to settle the lawsuit before it went to trial.

The case may be especially interesting for people who are concerned with whistleblower protections.

Back in 2011, the State of Michigan asked the employee to report on Flint's financial progress. The employee complied, and he, along with Flint's mayor, were asked to come to the state capital and take part in a hearing.

Mayor Dayne Walling chastised the finance employee when he answered the panel's questions in a truthful manner, according to the employee's attorneys.

After the hearing, the employee was fired, and he stated that he was wrongfully terminated for properly doing his job and "upholding his civic and patriotic duty to the city and the state."

In fact, employees cannot be fired for cooperating with a federal or state agency. In this case, the plaintiff claimed that he lost wages, endured damage to his reputation and suffered emotional and mental stress as a result of being wrongfully terminated.

According to the pre-trial settlement, the city of Flint will pay the plaintiff $250,000.

The truth is that whistleblowing takes courage when the conduct of employers or government agency officials is damaging or otherwise corrupt. Employees who have been wrongfully fired for whatever reason should know that they are not alone. There are legal ways of achieving justice.

Source: mlive.com, "Flint settles Whistleblower lawsuit with former city employee for $250,000," Jeremy Allen, May 17, 2013

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