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Payroll coordinator says she's victim of workplace discrimination

Whistleblowers in Massachusetts risk the security of their future employment when they raise the alarm on unethical or illegal business practices. Many workers who do so face the risk of workplace discrimination, which can manifest as demotions, unfavorable work assignments and even wrongful termination. The latter is what one woman says happened to her.

While working for her local town board, the former payroll coordinator received an exemplary employment review. That review resulted in her annual vacation time being increased from two to three weeks. However, her glowing performance review apparently did not matter when she questioned certain financial processes that fell outside of standard practices. Questionable processes included staff pay negotiations, arbitrarily awarded raises and inconsistent use of comp days by employees.

After raising concern about these practices, she was threatened with docked pay. Mere weeks later, she was called into the village administrator's office and offered one of two choices -- quit or be fired. She was terminated after refusing to quit. The former payroll officer recently took her concerns to a village board meeting at which the administrator was not present.

Laws are in place that are intended to protect whistleblowers from workplace discrimination, but employers often disregard these when acting. Although not every form of retaliation for blowing the whistle on unethical behavior ends in a wrongful termination, retaliatory actions can be addressed through the actions of a civil claim. Taking such action can hold Massachusetts employers who discriminate against whistleblowers responsible for their actions.

Source:, "Former Employee Accuses Wahlen of Intimidation, Wrongful Termination", Heather Asiyanbi, June 13, 2016

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