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Sterling Employment Law

Whistleblower lawsuit in Michigan township is finally settled

You have probably heard about the recent whistleblower suit targeting Michigan's Clay Township. The case received a great deal of press throughout 2017. A recent report indicates that the suit involving Clay Township and former Fire Chief, Daryl DuPage, has finally been resolved.

For those who have not been following the case, in 2016 Mr. DuPage asserted that the township had been fraudulently misusing its SAFER Grant. He also raised concerns about overtime pay for Clay's firefighters. After bringing these issues to light, the township terminated Mr. DuPage in January in what he alleged was a wrongful manner. As you might expect, the township responded by saying Mr. DuPage's allegations had nothing to do with his discharge.

In February, DuPage filed a whistleblower lawsuit against the township and several of its officials. Specifically, the suit contained the following counts: Violation of the Michigan Whistleblowers' Protection Act, wrongful termination and Fair Labor Standards Act retaliation.

In August, the lawsuit reached a settlement. Mr. DuPage agreed to "release and discharge the township" and its targeted officials of all allegations. In turn, the accused parties agreed to release Mr. DuPage of all filed demands. Despite these releases, DuPage and his attorneys will receive $115,000 to be paid by Clay Township's insurance provider.

Some may feel that Mr. DuPage should have continued to stand his ground instead of agreeing to a settlement. However, one could also argue that the damage against the township has already been done. By speaking out about his concerns, Mr. DuPage showed Michigan residents how whistleblowers can make a real difference. The spotlight currently shining on Clay Township will likely go a long way in preventing it or other cities from engaging in wrongdoing.

Source: The Voice, "Settlement reached in Clay Township whistleblower lawsuit," Pamela Binsfeld, Sep. 30, 2017

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