Probate Court employee's whistleblower case dismissed
The Court of Appeals dismissed Jane Mortimer's Whistleblower Protection Act (WPA) claim against the Alpena County Probate Court. The higher court ruled that since Mortimer (who worked as Probate Register for more than 30 years) was an at-will employee by law, she could not dispute her termination unless she could prove that it was in retaliation against her for legally protected activity. It was evident from the Court record that the Probate ?Register and Probate Judge enjoyed a very unpleasant relationship before hthe judge terminated Mortimer.
Mortimer claimed that she was fired because she questioned the Probate Judge's procedure of appointing "stand-by" guardians; she repeatedly claimed that the law did not authorize this practice but the Judge disagreed and continued it. The Court ruled that this form of dispute did not fall within the protections of the WPA, because Mortimer was not reporting an illegal act. On that basis, Mortimer's termination was upheld.