Whistleblower cannot prove necessary elements of claim
The claim of whistleblower retaliation made by John Carruthers against Isringhausen, Inc., was dismissed by the Kalamazoo Circuit Court and upheld this month by the Court of Appeals. Carruthers was a fork lift operator at the plant. He filed complaints with several government agencies, after the firm hired a temporary forklift operator who was unlicensed, untrained and who caused injuries by negligent operation of the lift. Before Carruthers final complaint was acted upon by the government agency, Carruthers and several other fork lift operators were laid off on the basis of seniority in a workforce reduction. Another fork lift operator who had joined Carruthers in complaining about the new lift operator was kept on.The trial court concluded that Carruthers could not prove that his lay off was motivated by his safety complaints about the new operator. First, because he could not prove that the final complaint was even known to the company; and second, because he was the lowest seniority among the operators in the plant, and another "whistleblower" with greater seniority was maintained. His becomes just one more sad story from the continuing economic decline.