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Attorney fired for filing ethics complaint

Lawsuits involving wrongful termination from a position come in all manner of forms. Such lawsuits even can involve lawyers suing the law firm for which they worked as was shown by a lawyer being purportedly fired for filing an ethics complaint.

The ethics complaint the attorney filed did not even involve her own firm. She did inform her direct supervisor of what she intended to do and she filed the complaint without using the firm's letterhead in any of the documentation. However, since the complaint was in the firm's mailbox, one of the attorneys opened her complaint, requested that she meet him at work and told her she either had to refrain from filing the complaint or find herself without a job.

Though it didn't occur in Indiana, similar whistleblower cases have also occurred here. The gist of such cases is that a person is fired for bringing up concerns regarding ethical violations that they should be able to bring up without the threat of retaliation.

To begin with, those choosing to bring up such concerns are protected by a variety of federal and state statutes. Without such statutes in place, employees may be placed in the position of tolerating and even forced to participate in unethical behavior just to save their own job. The loss of income is such a significant threat to such employees that employers often use it as a tool for blackmail.

Wrongful termination lawsuits are put in place to prevent an employee from losing their job simply for doing the right thing. With all that is in the news about unethical conduct taking place in business and government, it would be unjust to punish those that help prevent such conduct from occurring to begin with.

Source: The Record, "Attorney says she was fired for filing ethics complaint," by Lawrence Smith, May 11, 2012

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