Whistleblower’s Retaliation Claim in Minnesota Reinstated by Federal Appeals Court

The Eighth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals recently ruled a whistleblower retaliation claim filed by a lab quality technician at a Springfield, Minnesota, facility run by MAT Holdings, Inc. would be allowed to proceed. In the claim, the worker claims he was fired after complaining to a state agency about his employer asking him to manipulate product quality test results.

The lawsuit filed by Douglas James Sellner claims he was approached by his facility’s general manager, Alan D. Stark, in March 2012 to present information on a pump that was to be added to Sears Roebuck & Co.’s product line. According to the testing, the pump had serious problems with oil leaks. Sellner claims a lab manager told him this information could not be used in a report to Sears, and that Stark told him to develop a report that did not show any major issues with the pump.

When Sellner told Stark there were no units that performed without problems, Stark allegedly replied with a threat to fire him if he did not produce a clean report. When Sellner told Stark he would not falsify data and that the request was illegal, Stark allegedly told Sellner to “get creative” with his reports.

Sellner filed a report the next day with the Minnesota Department of Labor and Industry. At the time, he was in line to receive a promotion and an increase in pay, but instead he was terminated. The company’s official reason for the firing was poor work performance.

Whistleblowers protected from wrongful termination

There’s a variety of government regulations protecting whistleblowers from retaliation, including wrongful termination. If you believe you have been retaliated against, reach out to a trusted Dallas attorney at Whistleblower Law for Managers to learn more about your options.