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Maine Human Rights Commission finds that Parker K. Bailey & Sons retaliated against whistleblower

On April 11, 2011, the Maine Human Rights Commission (MHRC) found that the moving and storage company Parker K. Bailey & Sons, Inc. of Waterville fired Rodney Witham because he blew the whistle on the company’s illegal deductions from employees’ pay. According to Mr. Witham and another witness, he complained to the company about these illegal deductions and, when the company did not change its practices, he complained to the Maine Department of Labor (MDOL). In response to Mr. Witham’s complaint, MDOL investigated Parker K. Bailey & Sons and found that it had, in fact, illegally deducted money from employees’ paychecks. A couple months later, Parker K. Bailey & Sons terminated Mr. Witham claiming that it had to eliminate his truck driver position due to financial considerations.

In finding against the company, the MHRC found it noteworthy that Parker K. Bailey & Sons advertised that it was looking to hire new truck drivers shortly after it terminated Mr. Witham. According to a witness, the General Manager said that the company was looking for a driver to replace Mr. Witham. This evidence contradicted Parker K. Bailey & Sons’ claim that it eliminated Mr. Witham’s position. Furthermore, a secretary for the company told a witness after Mr. Witham contacted MDOL that Mr. Witham should “watch himself” because management was looking for a reason to fire him.

Under Maine’s Whistleblower Protection Act, an employer may not retaliate against an employee because he complains about the employer’s unlawful activity. If you believe your employer has discriminated against you because you complained about its unlawful activity, you should contact an experienced employment lawyer to discuss your rights.