A former part-time employee of department store JC Penney filed a retaliation claim, saying they were fired after alerting authorities that the retailer was overcharging its customers. This is just the most recent bad news for JC Penney, whose stock fell sharply after it announced its 2014 profit numbers and several key officers left the company.
The would-be whistleblower, Robert Blatchford, filed the claim under Florida’s Private Whistleblower Act. Blatchford worked at the St. Petersburg location from 2007 to 2009 and then again from August 2012 to July 2013. He claims that after he issued complaints about his store charging full price for items that were on sale and collecting sales tax on items that were nontaxable, he was the victim of retaliation by his manager and the company.
Blatchford asked the corporate offices of JC Penney to look into the situation, and two senior executives, then-CEO Ron Johnson and HR head Dan walker, promised to do exactly that. However, an investigation never occurred.
Blatchford finally decided to go public and made his claims on an episode of the Today Show in July 2013. After the report went on the air, JC Penney fired Blatchford and filed a lawsuit against him for theft of trade secrets, after he claimed that he had plenty of company information that would prove his allegations. However, the company eventually dropped the suit.
Blatchford claims that the affair has tarnished his reputation and that he hasn’t worked since Penney’s fired him. He is seeking a variety of damages against Penney’s, including compensation for wrongful termination and loss of wages.
If you believe you have been the victim of employer retaliation, the experienced lawyers at Whistleblower Law for Managers give you the guidance and advice you need to move forward.