A Johnson & Johnson ("J&J") employee filed a lawsuit in Florida against the company alleging she was fired in November 2017 after bringing attention to illegal kickbacks at the company and its Vision Care Institute.
The employee, who was a doctor at the Vision Care Institute, alleged she saw unlicensed individuals performing short medical exams and providing prescriptions for contact lenses. She also reported a supervisor for allowing a friend to use the institute to film something for the friend's company, which is prohibited under the Anti-Kickback Statute. Additionally, the employee alleged she brought attention to an illegal scheme through which J&J would use money from its marketing trade budget to reimburse its clients. The complaint also asserts that prior to her termination, the employee was told to "loosen up" about compliance issues.
The employee reported she was terminated because her husband had provided a service to Target, a J&J client, thus improperly receiving money from J&J. However, the employee claims other employees with family members who did business with J&J clients were not terminated.
In Florida, as well as Ohio, it is unlawful to fire or otherwise retaliate against an employee for reporting illegal conduct. Employees are protected from retaliatory action for the following protected activities, among others:
- reporting unsafe working conditions to government agencies;
- reporting suspected illegal conduct;
- testifying truthfully against an employer;
- filing lawsuit over wages;
- consulting an attorney about a possible lawsuit; and
- filing a workers' compensation claim.
If you believe you have been terminated in retaliation for any of the above listed activities, please contact our office for a free consultation.