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Public employee fund settles wrongful-termination lawsuit

Wrongful termination lawsuits can occur in the public sector as well as the private sector.

To be sure, government employees generally have more job protections than many employees do in the private sector. Union contracts, for one thing, tend to be more common in government jobs.

But wrongful termination cases can certainly arise in the public realm. In this post, we will discuss the settlement of a wrongful lawsuit brought by a former employee of the California Public Employees Retirement System (CalPERS).

The former employee contended that she was let go for questioning actions by CalPERS staff to cover up cover up insider trading.

The former employee’s role at CalPERS was in the compliance and monitoring unit. The unit was supposed to ensure that investments made by CalPERS were in keeping with legal requirements.

The former employee was fired after raising compliance concerns about the lack of transparency regarding insider trades at CalPERS.

She has now agreed to settle her wrongful-termination lawsuit for $57,200. That amount comes to 13 months of pay.

Under the settlement, there will also be a change in the designation of her official status when she left CalPERS. Instead of “rejected on probation,” the official designation of her status upon separation from employment will be voluntary resignation.

Though the former employee’s case is now resolved, the insider trades she challenged are still under scrutiny. The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) is still looking into questionable stock purchases by CalPERS.

The former employee and others in her watchdog unit at CalPERS had questioned those purchases on insider trading grounds. It remains to be seen what conclusion the SEC will reach.

Source: The Sacramento Bee, "CalPERS termination case settled," Jon Ortiz, Feb. 4, 2014

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