In California, a recent wrongful termination case came into the news. On Feb. 4, the employee, who claimed she was wrongfully discharged for challenging a cover-up of insider trades, was able to settle her case. People like this woman deserve to have their cases heard, since it keeps businesses in check and can help prevent these issues in the future.
According to the news, the woman was working at CalPERS in a watchdog unit. That unit was specifically designed to make sure that the investments made by the company would comply with the laws set by the government. However, she claims that when she noticed and reported a group of insider trade going on by the fund staff, she was fired. Her case was settled, but if it hadn’t been, she would have allegedly had to appear in court for public testimonies. Those would have discussed whether she was fired due to badgering management over something they didn’t believe was an issue, or if she was fired because of whistle-blowing.
If her case had gone to court, it would have discussed the purchase of CalPERS’s March 2013 stocks from the financial firm JPMorgan Chase & Co. and Access Midstream Partners, LP. She had allegedly insisted, along with some colleagues, that the large purchases, including around $24 million of stock from the financial firm and close to $2.7 of stock from Access Midstream Partners LP, were in violation of insider trading laws. If that had been accepted, the company would have needed to reverse the purchases.
The woman was fired shortly after she questioned the manager’s qualifications to run the compliance unit and after she raised concerns about the purchases. The purchases weren’t reversed, but the company did reportedly violate the internal policy restricting stock trades if a fund employee has inside knowledge about a company.
Source: The Sacramento Bee, “CalPERS termination case settled” Jon Ortiz, Feb. 04, 2014