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Whistleblower defense is rejected by the Court of Appeals

When the Club of Kalamazoo and two individual managers attempted to require health club employees to install insulation in the walls during renovations and did not provide proper safety equipment, four workers objected.  When their objections were ignored, two of the workers reported the illegal demand to MiOSHA.  In response, their employer-Defendants reduced their pay to cover the cost of third-party installation and ultimately fired all four employees.  They filed suit, alleging a violation of the Michigan Whistleblowers Act.

The insurer for the defendants argued that two of the workers were not entitled to raise a Whistleblower claim because they didn't call MiOSHA or authorize the call made by the other two workers in advance.  The Court rejected this defense, noting that the statute does not require proof that a report of wrongdoing be authorized by the protected individual.  It also rejected the defendants' claim that the firings were not "caused" by the MiOSHA report: the circumstances of the handling of this situation by the management employees make that claim appear frivolous.  The case is Coleman, et al. v. Club of Kalamazoo, et al.

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