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Sterling Employment Law

Michigan city targeted in a second whistleblower lawsuit

If you believe in the old adage "where there's smoke, there's fire", you might be concerned to find that a Michigan city and its mayor have been targeted in not one, but two whistleblower suits. The city is Flint and the mayor is Karen Weaver. Two former employees are calling Weaver and the city out for illegal and/or unethical activities. The first suit was filed almost a year ago by a former Flint city administrator and is still pending.

More recently, a former Flint attorney filed her own whistleblower suit against the same defendants. The suit alleges that the woman was relieved of her attorney position after complaining about illegal activities conducted by the city of Flint and by Mayor Weaver.

In the lawsuit, she alleges that she "became aware and spoke out against perceived illegal and actual illegal acts." She informed the mayor and other city workers that she knew about these acts and would not participate by signing off on them. Specific allegations include:

-- Giving a mayoral adviser "illegal access"

-- Attempting to violate Internal Revenue Service rules

-- Assigning legal duties to unauthorized personnel

-- Violating the woman's First Amendment rights as well as the Michigan Whistleblowers' Protection Act

The last item in the above list reportedly occurred after the woman complained about the illegal activities and was fired from her job by the mayor.

Anytime people in positions of power or authority engage in illegal activities, it trickles down to harm the economy and society as a whole. Exposing these acts to the public and seeking to hold the parties accountable is a duty everyone shares. Remember, the law can protect you if you choose to speak out and so can an employment attorney.

Source: Detroit Free Press, "Fired Flint attorney files whistleblower suit against Mayor Weaver," Paul Egan, April 03, 2017

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