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Dow accused of illegally firing whistleblower

Dow Chemical Company is accused of having illegally fired an employee for whistleblowing in violation of a Michigan state statute. The wrongful discharge lawsuit was filed in the Midland County Court by a woman who worked for Dow for approximately 25 years. She conducted internal investigations for the company and was mandated to report the results of those investigations to her superiors at the company.

After she investigated some activities of the company's chief executive officer and a charity he ran, as well as a hotel renovation, she turned in reports to her supervisors. Their reaction was to forcefully tell her to back off, she asserts, and she began to be placed in the company's crosshairs to be fired. They reassigned her to investigate something else, and she was then told that her last day on the job would be at the end of October. The company called it a "retirement" rather than a termination, but the plaintiff says that she took it to mean that she was fired, whatever it was called.

The lawsuit seeks both economic and non-economic losses and damages in excess of $25,000. Claims are made under both a state whistleblower law, and a federal law called the Sarbanes Oxley Act. Under these laws, an employee is not supposed to be fired for reporting wrongdoing to supervisors or the proper authorities. Employees who ferret out and report corporate and officer misconduct, of course, perform a valuable public service.

Without such protection, many illegal and immoral acts and corruption would never be discovered, particularly the wrongdoing of people at a high level of authority and power. Lawsuits on behalf of wrongfully fired whistleblowers play a vital role in making others with similar information feel like it is safe to come forward.

Source: Midland Daily News, "Former employee files suit against Dow; company pledges fight" Kelly Dame, Jan. 14, 2014

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