In a recently filed a lawsuit in California, Jeff Werner, a former change control claims manager with the engineering company Stantec, alleges he was wrongfully terminated after discovering and reporting mandatory change order procedures were not being followed on an Oahu railway project.
Werner worked on the rail from August 2016 to June 2017. While the crux of his lawsuit deals with his wrongful termination from Stantec, it also contains allegations that the Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transportation (HART) failed to obtain or even require accurate cost justifications for change orders, which is a violation of Federal Transit Administration regulations.
Werner claims that during his time working on the rail, HART purposefully slowed up progress on more than 100 different change orders worth a total of more than $5 million. He says the agency did this because of project funding issues, but that it ultimately resulted in “substantial additional costs due to overpayments and litigation.”
Man claims wrongful termination
In his complaint, Werner says Stantec sent him back to work in Orange County after he warned his supervisor that he would report HART’s change order violations to the HR department at Stantec if they were not corrected. Werner did ultimately report the problem to HR while he continued working on the Honolulu rail project from California. In September 2017, Werner says he flagged an “unauthorized” change order that had been put through by a HART project manager. He was then pulled from the project that same day and fire later that month.
Werner also alleges incidents of bullying, abusive behavior and workplace violence by that HART project manager against administrative staff, which he says he reported to his superiors, who did nothing about it.
There are federal and state laws that protect whistleblowers against wrongful termination or other forms of retaliation. To protect your rights after you report wrongdoing within your company or government agency, meet with a dedicated whistleblower attorney at Kardell Law Group.