Whistleblowing on Blue Shield superior may have cost VP his job

Frank S. Clowney III

The former vice president of Blue Shield of California believes he was unfairly dismissed after voicing his concerns about a more senior officer’s suspicious conduct, and he filed a suit in state court on April 6. In his lawsuit, the former officer claims that the company’s chief information officer and senior vice president was responsible for his termination after the plaintiff had voiced objections about potential financial improprieties.

When Blue Shield needed to pick a vendor for the Veritas Data Project, the plaintiff expressed his reservations when the senior officer wanted to use a vendor that would charge an unfixed price of $4.6 million instead of a company proposing to charge a fixed $1.6 million. The suit says that the officer could not offer a valid reason for wanting to use the more expensive vendor or for why he was so resistant to the plaintiff’s questions about the issue.

Since the former executive believed his superior wanted to go with the less qualified and more expensive company without a valid reason, he thought a conflict of interest could be present, and he discussed the situation with fellow workers, who agreed. The plaintiff believes that the senior executive told a human resources officer to fire him on March 11 because he was afraid the plaintiff would take his information to the government or senior management. Officially, the reason for termination was listed as violating the company’s expense and travel policy.

In cases similar to this one, state or federal whistleblower protection laws might protect a worker who was fired after trying to point out or stop potential wrongdoing. A successful wrongful termination lawsuit could result in reinstatement as well as the recovery of damages that have been sustained.

Source: Courthouse News Service, “Blue Shield Exec Fired for Trying to Save Money”, Maria Dinzeo, 04/06/2015