Louisiana emergency agency faces whistleblower lawsuit

A former employee of Louisiana's Governor's Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness claims in a recently filed lawsuit that he was wrongfully terminated for reporting wasteful spending practices during the emergency response efforts following Hurricane Isaac. In the pending employment law action, a former Operations Section Chief for the emergency response agency asserts that he was fired under false pretenses in retaliation for a series of emails to peers and supervisors that raised concerns about money spent on resources that were never used.

Among the allegations of wasteful practices, the former employee claims that a stockpile of hundreds of thousands of meals and tarps valued at millions of dollars continues to sit in warehouses unused. He also points to unused evacuation buses and shipments of ice left to melt in storage at costs of hundreds of thousands of taxpayer dollars.

The former employee says that the knowledge that FEMA would reimburse 75 percent of dollars spent on emergency management efforts serves as an incentive for officials to get carried away with spending, but he maintains that authorities ought to have more respect for the burden on taxpayers.

The former employee states that the purported reason behind his termination related to poor management of a food purchase, but he believes that his critical emails are the real reason he was fired. In his lawsuit, the former employee claims that he was punished for acting as a whistleblower.

Louisiana's whistleblower protection law prohibits the termination of any public employee in retaliation for reporting a violation of the law or other improper acts in the performance of public duties. Experienced employment litigation counsel can help wrongfully fired whistleblowers recover lost income and seek reinstatement to their rightful positions.

Source: WGMB, "Former manager files whistleblower lawuist against GOHSEP," David Lippman, Dec. 7, 2012

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