The Utah Department of Transportation (UDOT) agreed to pay damages and legal fees to a former employee who alleged wrongful termination, and she was also given her position back with the department, according to FOX 13 News in Salt Lake City.
UDOT employee Denise Graham was terminated by the department in 2010 for leaking department information about a $13 million payout to a contractor who lost a bid for a project. An administrative law judge ruled that Graham was wrongfully terminated and her disclosure falls under whistleblower protection laws.
Graham is taking a new position in human resources with the department. The UDOT paid Graham $57,600 in legal fees and she will retain her same pay at $60,000 annual salary.
“I feel good with that,” Graham said. “I’m able to move forward and I feel like I’ve been made whole.”
While this story seems to have a happy ending, this is an ordeal that Graham should never have been put through in the first place. The UDOT made Graham a scapegoat for their wrongful actions, and that should not be tolerated.
“We made an offer and we’re glad she accepted,” said Jeff Herring, Executive Director of the Department of Human Resource Management. “She’ll be a valuable asset to our team. We welcome her.”
We can only hope that the UDOT has learned its lesson—it appears it has dodged a bullet this time.
Kesluk, Silverstein & Jacob—Los Angeles employment law attorneys