Human Resources News & Insights

Price tag for whistleblower retaliation: $930k

Here’s yet another example of how expensive retaliation lawsuits can be for today’s employers.

Bank of America Corp.’s been ordered to ante up more than $900,000 in a case involving an employee who blew the whistle on potential fraud in a mortage lending operation.

The employee originally worked for Countrywide Financial Corp., which merged with Bank of America in July 2008.

The employee led internal investigations that revealed widespread and pervasive wire, mail and bank fraud involving Countrywide employees — and  alleged that anyone who attempted to report the fraud to Countrywide management suffered persistent retaliation.

The employee was fired shortly after the merger.

The employee filed a complaint with the Department of Labor. After an investigation, it was “clear Bank of America used illegal retaliatory tactics against this employee,” spokesman Dr. David Michaels said in a press release.

The bank has been ordered to reinstate and pay the employee approximately $930,000, which includes back wages, interest, compensatory damages and attorney fees.

The action came out of the Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration, which handles cases involving whistleblowers.

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