Employees often notice when things seem wrong at work and should feel free to address their concerns with their employers without fearing repercussions. Of course, one of the worst repercussions they can face is being fired even though they did nothing wrong and were just trying to point out a problem. In those cases, the employee may have grounds for a wrongful termination suit and can pursue that legally. That is what happened with a former New Jersey executive who worked for a pharmaceutical company. According to her suit, she was fired simply because she had objected to a study that had been proposed. The basis for her objection was that the study might be a kickback scheme that was disguised as research.
The woman says that the proposed study wasn’t set to be focused on research at all. Instead, it was to focus on what she refers to as “client interaction.” Overall, it was to be about a product of her company that is intended to treat breast cancer. However, the woman says that the way it was set up violated the company’s policies on third-party studies. She expressed that the study involved a conflict of interest and the appearance of kickbacks. She also said that the cost of $400,000 for one month was too much. In support of her claims, she notes that the executive director of clinical operations decided to not approve the study, giving as reasons for the decision many of the points independently made by the woman who filed suit. The pharmaceutical company in this case has been accused of kickbacks before. That may affect the woman’s wrongful termination case. Others filing wrongful termination suits in New Jersey will need to consider the facts relevant to their own cases in consultation with an experienced attorney.
Source: NJ.com, “Ex-executive sues Novartis, claiming she was fired for objecting to perceived kickback,” July 3, 2014.