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Blue Shield VP says wrongful termination was for whistleblowing

The people working at the executive level are responsible for making big decisions. Their choices directly impact both their companies and consumers and should not be made lightly. When an employee notices suspected illegal conduct, he or she may choose to speak out against the inappropriate action. The former vice president of Blue Shield of California claims he was the victim of a wrongful termination because he was blowing the whistle on the decision to use an overpriced vendor.

The plaintiff claims that an issue arose over which vendor to choose for Blue Shield's Veritas Data Project. The chief information officer allegedly wanted to go with a vendor whose bid was for $4.5 million with the possibility of fluctuation. The plaintiff asserts that he suggested a less expensive choice, which was a fixed bid for $1.6 million. Between the two, the plaintiff assumed that his option would be the obvious choice because it was considerably cheaper.

The former vice president could not seem to figure out why there was such a big push for an option that was so costly. He continued to voice his concerns to the CIO, but, on one occasion, he was purportedly asked to leave the office and harshly told to stop discussing the matter. This raised a red flag for the plaintiff who then began to discuss the issue with his co-workers who apparently agreed with his concerns. He suspected the push for the more expensive vendor was because the CIO was accepting a bribe or kickback.

The CIO allegedly told human resources to fire the plaintiff for violating the company's expense and travel policy. The plaintiff believes that the reason for his wrongful termination was based on the CIO's fear that he would report the situation to the government or other company executives. Furthermore, he claims Blue Shield of California has yet to pay him a bonus he was owed in the amount of $450,000. He is asking a civil court to award him monetary damages and other financial relief, as well as reinstatement to his former position.

Source: courthousenews.com, "Blue Shield Exec Fired for Trying to Save Money", Maria Dinzeo, April 6, 2015

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