Lawsuits can be incredibly complicated. For instance, one case can spawn another case, and so on. This is what occurred in New Jersey with a suit that began with a whistleblower who alleged wrongful termination. Now, the employer that is being accused of wrongful termination is countersuing by claiming the whistleblower and his representatives took documents illegally to prove their qui tam case.
The incidents began in late 2005 when a New Jersey engineer at a plastics manufacturing company began to suspect the organization for which he worked was not always following compliance guidelines when products were made. It was at this point in time that he sought representation, although he continued to work for the company. Nearer to the end of 2005, the company fired him.
The employee claims that his termination was based on the fact that he alerted management of his quality control concerns in a letter. The employer counters that they have no record of the letter. They say that he was fired because he was at the center of a customer complaint. In the meantime, his whistleblower accusations were settled by the parent company of the plastics manufacturer.
Fast forward more than eight years and the wrongful termination litigation is still proceeding. Additionally, the employer is now going on the offensive and trying to prove that the employee took evidence that was privileged or confidential, something that is not sanctioned by whistleblower laws. Both sides will have the opportunity to present their evidence before a decision is made. If the former employee wins his wrongful termination suit, he could be entitled to back pay, lost compensation and other remuneration.
Source: Forbes, Lawsuit Accuses Whistleblower Law Firm Of Coaching Employee To Steal Documents, Daniel Fisher, Feb. 21, 2014