A former sergeant at the Southern Regional Jail near Charleston, West Virginia has filed a lawsuit against the state’s Regional Jail Authority, alleging employer retaliation.
The man, Jason Hefner, says he was forced into resignation after reporting corruption within the jail system. According to the lawsuit, Hefner discovered the corruption after he conducted an investigation into a fight between several female inmates at the jail in October 2015. During the investigation, one of the inmates revealed specific relationships that had formed between inmates and officers, and how officers were providing inmates with contraband.
After completing the report and submitting it to his supervisors, Hefner was brought into a meeting, where superiors threatened his job and criticized the way he conducted his investigation. Hefner felt pressured into stepping down after being told he was facing termination, but later learned there had not been any disciplinary action planned. In his lawsuit, he seeks reimbursement for lost wages, legal fees and compensation in accordance with the West Virginia Whistleblower Act.
Whistleblowers protected from retaliation
There are a number of federal laws in place that protect whistleblowers from employer retaliation, including the Sarbanes Oxley Act and the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act. Employers are strictly forbidden to retaliate in any way against employees who properly report internal wrongdoing. Examples of such retaliation are not just limited to termination — it could also include demotion, docked pay, poor treatment, isolation and various other issues.
To that end, organizations must have firm processes in place to address whistleblower complaints when they arise. To learn more about these issues, contact the experienced Dallas attorneys at Whistleblower Law for Managers.