A pharmacist is finally receiving some good news after having his jury-ordered award reinstated. The plaintiff worked for Walgreen's in California when he claimed that he suffered a wrongful termination after reporting alleged billing fraud. For his case, he won $88,000 in general damages. A typical punitive damages award would be 10 times greater than the general damages, but, in this case, the jury's award was 13 times higher, amounting to $1,155,000.
The plaintiff began his work with the company as a pharmacist, and he was then promoted to a management position. In this position, he filled in for other pharmacists on a regular basis, and that is how he noticed the alleged billing conspiracy. He brought the issue to the company's attention and then lost his job several months later.
Representation for the plaintiff stated that the man could easily not have reported the issues because he was making a considerable sum working for the company but chose to blow the whistle to stop the issue. Walgreen's said the reason for the man's firing had nothing to do with reporting the issue, and that the company fosters an environment that promotes reporting suspicious activity. The company asserts that the reason for his firing was due to his repeatedly working after his shift was scheduled to be finished, even after he was warned to stop.
California workers who believe that they are victims of a wrongful termination may choose to pursue legal action against their employers. If the court rules in favor of the employees, they may be awarded lost wages and possible punitive damages, as deemed appropriate by the court. Based upon the individual circumstances of the case, the workers may also be reinstated to their former positions.
Source: fresnobee.com, "Judge restores $1 million punitive award against Walgreens in Fresno pharmacist's case", Pablo Lopez, Dec. 10, 2014