Depending on the forum and applicable law, an employer's continued actions against a whistleblower who has left the company — providing bad references to potential new employers, for example — may consititute illegal retaliation.
This article by TELG principal Adam Augustine Carter and TELG managing principal R. Scott Oswald was published by The Corporate Counselor on September 2, 2014. The full article is available as a PDF on our site.
Post-Employment Retaliation: The ‘Gift’ That Keeps on Giving?
A long-time employee with a track record of success witnesses and discloses what she believes to be unlawful activity at her company, ABC Corp. Her relationship with management sours and, after a brief attempt at dispute resolution paid for by the company, she is soon after “down-sized” in a reduction in force (RIF).
Ready to move on, the employee begins applying for new positions, but cannot gain any traction. She learns that, in addition to informing potential employers about the RIF, ABC Corp. has falsely criticized the employee’s performance. The employee later learns that her security clearance is in jeopardy because ABC provided misleading information to the Department of Defense (DOD). Next, the employee receives a 1099 in the mail in which ABC attributes to her as earned income the costs of the pre-RIF attempt at dispute resolution. Finally, ABC serves the employee with a multi-count complaint alleging violation of trade secrets, conversion, tortious interference, and other baseless causes of action.