The University of Michigan recently agreed to pay $300,000 to settle a lawsuit filed by a former employer who alleged wrongful termination on the part of the school.
The former employee was Amy J. Wang, who worked as an executive in technology services and the finance department. She claims she was fired after she blew the whistle on issues related to the university employing a non-United States resident.
According to Wang’s complaint, her boss, Associate Vice President of Finance Nancy Hobbs, requested that she lie to U.S. Customs and Immigration Services (USCIS) officials about the duties of a temporary employee who was not an American citizen. That employee was working at the University through a program created by the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) that allows Canadian or Mexican residents to get temporary work visas in the United States. Wang says in her complaint that the employee in question worked in a permanent managerial role, a role now allowed under the guidelines of the NAFTA program.
Wang refused to comply with the request to misrepresent the employee’s duties, and worked with the Human Resources department to revise that employee’s duties, resulting in a removal of management duties and a pay decrease of $9500. This caused conflict between Wang and her supervisor, and in June, Hobbs told Wang to resign under threat of firing. Wang declined, and was ultimately fired on July 13, with the official basis for the termination being a “failure to meet expectations.”
In settling the case, the university does not admit any liability.
Whistleblowers receive protections from retaliation
There are a number of anti-retaliation statutes in federal law that protect whistleblowers from being wrongfully terminated or otherwise retaliated against after they report wrongdoing.
For more information on the protections available to you and the steps you should take to report this wrongdoing, speak with an experienced whistleblower attorney at Kardell Law Group.