Cleveland, OH (Law Firm Newswire) February 8, 2013 – Racism may be the basis for this whistleblower lawsuit against a judge.
“This is going to be a touch and go case,” indicated Tom Robenalt, a Cleveland whistleblower lawyer, ”because it is not as clear cut as some whistleblower lawsuits may be. This one sounds in racism, with other factors added into the mix, and is a prime example of the “he said/she said” doctrine in action. The plaintiff says she was fired after reporting racism. The judge says she was fired for creating a negative work environment. However, it could well be she was fired in reprisal for reporting judges taking pay they were not entitled to take.”
The plaintiff in this suit is a former court reporter who alleges she was wrongfully dismissed after reporting racism and discrimination. Typically, this would be a wrongful dismissal case. However, other issues turned it into potential whistleblower litigation, specifically, being terminated was a direct reprisal for reporting that visiting judges were illegally getting paid a full day’s wages, when they were only entitled to a half day rate and that all employees were coerced into participating in a breakfast club. Her suit asks the court for compensation for pain and suffering, compensatory damages and damages for lost earnings.
The female plaintiff was a court reporter in the auxiliary courts for close to a year, when she was terminated from her position by a state district judge. The reason cited was the woman created a negative work environment. Evidently, the woman then tried to commit suicide after she was fired. Just prior to being dismissed from her position, the plaintiff contacted a county attorney, the human resources office, local law enforcement and the FBI with her allegations that visiting judges were paid $500 for a full day’s work when they were only entitled to a half day rate.
She also outlined the rules of the breakfast club, where an employee had to bring breakfast treats every Friday for all other court workers. The person was determined by a schedule circulated to workers. In addition, she further alleged that some employees reported a full work week, but left before 5:00 p.m. every Friday.
“Of course, the main point to be determined here, aside from the reprisal issue, is just how long the alleged overpayments to visiting judges were going on and how much was involved. The government will often not involve itself in whistleblower cases that do not have a major payoff for them,” explained Robenalt.
“If you have information about dishonest or illegal activities in a company, organization or government department, call me. Misconduct may relate to being in violation of a law or rule, corruption, health or safety violations and fraud, and we can discuss your situation in a straightforward manner so you understand your options, if you wish to file a whistleblower lawsuit,” Robenalt suggested.
Mellino Robenalt LLC
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Cleveland, Ohio 44114
Call: (216) 241-1901