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Wrongful termination suit revives old controversy

Fear of retaliation from employers is an effective tactic that some business use in order to suppress workers from reporting indecencies in the workplace. Demotion, the withholding of a promotion and even wrongful termination are all forms of retaliation that whistleblowers in Massachusetts face. Victims of retaliation are not powerless, however, as they can address retaliation-related damages in a lawsuit.

A former employee for an out-of-state government has filed suit against that state's treasurer over what he says was his wrongful termination. The problem stems from an issue with state-involved securities lending. The state's holdings were used to lend our securities to other third parties and resulted in sizeable gains for the state before the 2008 recession.

During the economic downturn, those gains turned to losses, and the investment firm was later accused of violating its end of the lending agreement. That state's attorney general advised the treasury office to seek counsel concerning the issue, but the treasurer apparently ignored this advice and instead plunged back into negotiations with the same firm. The result was a mostly confidential agreement that left the firm on the hook for only a minor part of the losses that hit the state. The former employee claims that the cost to the taxpayers totaled millions and that many investors -- including the state -- were intentionally misled. Raising these concerns allegedly contributed to his loss of employment.

No matter how innocuous a wrongful termination might seem, the financial and emotional ramifications can be seriously damaging. Being wrongfully discharged can also wreak havoc on a person's professional reputation. Because of the serious nature of the possible damages, many workers who have been wrongfully terminated from a job in Massachusetts choose to take legal action against their former employer. When a wrongful discharge suit is successfully navigated to completion, victims can recover lost wages and other related compensation.

Source: idahostatesman.com, "Claim revives questions about Idaho treasurer's securities lending losses", Bill Dentzer, May 13, 2016

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