Supreme Court of Michigan holds that complaint about employer's planned future illegal conduct is not protected by Whistleblower Protection Act
The conservative majority of the Michigan Supreme Court summarily reversed the Court of Appeals and threw out the Plaintiff's Whistleblower Protection Act retaliatory firing claim. In Pace v. Edel-Harrelson, the plaintiff argued that she was wrongfully terminated in retaliation for reporting that a co-worker--the Executive Director of the Agency--was planning to buy a stove for her daughter with grant funds that were not authorized for that purpose.
The Supreme Court held that since the Director had only announced an intent to act illegally, and had not yet done so, the plaintiff's report did not relate to "a violation or a suspected violation of law..." and therefore her report wasn't protected activity under the WPA. Since the plaintiff didn't wait until after the illegal act had occurred, the Director could fire her for reporting the plan, and the retaliatory firing wasn't illegal under the WPA.