Former J.C. Penney worker files whistleblower claim

Wisconsin residents might be interested to learn about a new lawsuit that was filed against the national retail chain J.C. Penney, Inc., by a former employee. The plaintiff in the lawsuit claims that he was retaliated against after noticing activities that he thought were fleecing customers and subsequently making his allegations public . His claim was filed in Florida under the Private Whistleblower Act.

Between 2007 and 2009, the plaintiff was employed in the custom decorating department of a company location in St. Petersburg, Florida. During that time, the man says he noticed that customers were being overcharged. According to his claims, sales tax was being added to nontaxable items, and items that were supposed to be on sale were being sold to customers for full price.

After he alerted the chief executive officer of the company and the head of the company’s human resources department about the activity, the former employee says that no plan was put in place to reimburse customers. Due to the lack of response by his employer, he decided to share his story publicly on a television show in July 2013. The man was subsequently fired and sued by the company for theft of trade secrets. Although the lawsuit against him was dropped, the former employee says he has lost his reputation and been able to find other work since being fired by the company.

Employers are not allowed to take retaliatory actions against an employee who reports unlawful or questionable activity that is going on at their workplace. An employee who is fired or demoted for being a whistleblower may file a claim in order to recover financial compensation.

Source: Fortune, “Exclusive: Whistleblower files claim against JC Penney”, Jennifer Reingold, March 23, 2015

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