Under the Minnesota Human Rights Act (MHRA), it is illegal for an employer to retaliate against an employee because the employee complained about the employer engaging in practices that are prohibited by the MHRA.
This is what a former employee of San Diego Gas & Electric (SDG&E) claims happened to him after he complained about a company practice that he believed to be unethical. He says that when he complained about the practice, he was fired. SDG&E claims that the man was terminated because he violated company policies.
The former employee says that in 2008, utility managers at the company started telling employees to deliver delinquent notices to high density, low income households like those located in central San Diego. The man claims the company engaged in this unethical behavior in order to make money on late fees.
After he was fired, the man filed a wrongful termination lawsuit against SDG&E. The jury agreed with his claim and recently awarded the man punitive damages in the amount of $1.3 million. Of the four counts that were filed, the company was found liable on three, including retaliation and wrongful termination.
This man did the right thing by sticking up for himself and holding his former employer liable for firing him without cause. Hopefully the money he was awarded in the lawsuit will enable him to get back on his feet and make up for his missed earnings.
If you have been fired as retaliation, you may wish to speak with an attorney experienced in employment law.
Source: LaJolla Patch, “Jury Awards $1.3M to Former SDG&E Employee Who Claimed Wrongful Termination and Retaliation,” Michelle Mowad, Mar. 26, 2014