Employee’s Reporting of Potential Future Violation of Law, Regulation or Rule Sufficient to Trigger “Protected Activity” Element in Whistleblower’s Protection Act Claim

In Pace v. Jessica Edel-Harrelson, et al, issued on February 24, 2015, the Michigan Court of Appeals addressed a Whistleblowers Protection Act claim.

There are two remarkable points to the case.  The first is that the COA panel (Shapiro, Gleicher and Roynayne-Krause) holds that reporting a suspected future violation of a regulation, law or rule is sufficient to trigger the protected activity element of the WPA. 

The second aspect that is interesting is the court addresses the causation analysis under the WPA and, particularly, rejects the defendant employer’s claim that any reporting of a violation by the plaintiff was merely temporally related to the incidents which the defendant-employer claims justified the plaintiff’s termination.

 In the end, the Court of Appeals here returns the WPA claim to the trial court because questions of fact remained over whether there was ever any planned future violation of a rule (misappropriation of the employer’s funds by another employee), and whether plaintiff actually engaged in the conduct for which she was allegedly terminated (threatening and intimidating a co-employee), and whether the plaintiff could prove causation.

 

About cjtucker06

Owner of law firm since July 2014; Handles all types of appellate matters and assists other lawyers with complex litigation and insurance coverage issues; Admitted to the Supreme Court of the United States, the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals and the State Bar of Michigan; Expertise in prosecuting and defending appeals with several significant successes in the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals, the Michigan Supreme Court and the Michigan Court of Appeals; Author of briefs amicus curiae in the Michigan Supreme Court for the Michigan Defense Trial Counsel and the Insurance Institute of Michigan; Represents Insurance Companies, Major International Business, Governmental Entities, Law Enforcement Officers and County Sheriffs. Board of Directors, Michigan Defense Trial Counsel Amicus Committee Co-Chair, Michigan Defense Trial Counsel Military - Retired Major in the Judge Advocate General (JAG) Corps of the United States Army, Brigade Judge Advocate and Staff JAG officer for the Maneuver Training Center, Camp Grayling, Michigan; Recipient of the Army's Meritorious Service Medal (the highest medal of honor available to Soldiers serving in non-combat roles); 2012 Graduate of the Judge Advocate Officer Advanced Course, at The Judge Advocate Legal Center and School, Charlottesville, Virginia. United States Navy Reserves, Combat Warfare Qualification, January 1989 to July 2003 Former law clerk to Justice Stephen J. Markman, Michigan Supreme Court, Research Attorney, Michigan Court of Appeals. Insurance Coverage Associate Plunkett Cooney; Environmental Law Attorney at Squire Sanders, now Squire Patton Boggs; Master's Degree in Environmental Law; Environmental Law Scholar, ALI/ABA Washington, D.C., Juris Doctorate, Vermont Law School, Environmental Editor, Vermont Law Review; Treasurer and Finalist, Moot Court Advisory Board.
Gallery | This entry was posted in Administrative Law, Appeals, Appeals and Legal Research, Appellate Lawyer, Business and Commercial Litigation, Labor and Employment Law, May It Please the Court, Whistleblower's Protection Act Claims and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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