A federal judge is allowing an ex-fraud investigator for Dow Chemical Co. to pursue a wrongful termination claim. Kimberly Wood, who had worked for 25 years at Dow before the company fired her in October, alleges that the company was engaged in significant financial misconduct, specifically major spending by the company’s Chief Executive Officer, Andrew Liveris.
Wood’s position with the company required her to regularly conduct investigations within the company. At one point, she says she uncovered a variety of personal expenses paid for by company funds by Liveris and yet unreported on company records. After reporting her findings to her superiors, Wood claims that she was fired because it upset Liveris and the company’s executive Vice President, Charles Kalil.
Wood filed the lawsuit under the Sarbanes-Oxley act, which specifically prohibits large, publicly traded companies from discriminating against whistleblowers or retaliating against them in any way after they report internal wrongdoing. Kalil had filed a motion to dismiss the case, but was overruled by a U.S. Judge, and now the case against Dow will proceed.
The judge’s correct ruling ensures that Wood will have a chance to argue for her protection under the various laws protecting whistleblowers. The provisions of the Sarbanes-Oxley act will get particular attention in this case. If the court rules in Wood’s favor, she could receive a sizeable award, with executives from Dow potentially being forced to pay large punitive damages.
For more information on your rights under the Sarbanes-Oxley Act or to secure representation as you file a wrongful termination claim, contact the knowledgeable Dallas whistleblower attorneys at Whistleblower Law for Managers.