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Belated complaint doesn't qualify as "whistle-blowing"

The Court of Appeals upheld the dismissal of Jennifer Gale's whistleblower complaint against her employer, MSU, despite her claim that she was discharged in retaliation for complaining about a clearly "sexual" condom story related to her by a co-worker.  The Court noted that Ms. Gale was a probationary employee and that she did not voice her complaint when the incident occurred, but rather brought it up after her immediate supervisor had already made the decision to terminate her employment due to friction with co-workers, and after the supervisor had begun compiling a list of justifications for not making her employment permanent.

Building a case under the Whistle-blowers Protection Act, MCL 15.361, requires a showing of protected complaint activity, discharge or discrimination, and a causal connection between the activity and the "punishment".  In this case, the court concluded that Ms. Gale could not show that her discharge was related to her complaint about the "condom story", given that steps had already been taken to end her probationary employment.

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