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Maine Human Rights Commission Investigator finds that On the Edge Chipping unlawfully fired a whistleblower

An investigator with the Maine Human Rights Commission (MHRC) has found that On the Edge Chipping in Phillips, Maine unlawfully fired Daniel Harnden, a skidder operator, because Mr. Harnden complained about charges the company put on his personal John Deere account. Mr. Harnden complained to On the Edge about the charges on December 4, 2009 and called John Deere on January 15, 2010 to tell it that On the Edge made charges to his account. Days later, On the Edge fired Mr. Harnden allegedly for performance issues.

The MHRC investigator found that most of the alleged performance issues On the Edge claimed it fired Mr. Harnden for stemmed from incidents that occurred long before Mr. Harnden complained about On the Edge making charges to his John Deere account. If On the Edge was really going to fire Mr. Harnden for those incidents, it would have done so long before Mr. Harnden made his complaints about the John Deere charges.

The MHRC will vote whether to adopt or reject the investigator’s recommendation at its next meeting on October 31, 2011. If the MHRC agrees with the investigator, and finds reasonable grounds to believe that On the Edge violated Mr. Harnden’s rights, the MHRC will attempt to facilitate a settlement between Mr. Harnden and On the Edge. If there is no settlement, a lawsuit could ensue.

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