|Jottings By An Employer's Lawyer|
Monday, July 10, 2006
Sticks and Stones ... But Words Can Be Costly Too - $4.5 Worth
At least two letters from Merrill Lynch attorneys defended Galarneau's handling of the account that was in question. And an internal review of her conduct found no wrongdoing, Galarneau's lawyers said.From my experience what may well have happened -- in response to a claim of wrongdoing by the broker, the company initially defended the actions; then after some more digging, more information about the broker's conduct was uncovered, decision to terminate made and required statutory report was filed. At trial, they get beat up with evidence of their initial actions. A classic Catch 22 for the employer it would seem.
In central Texas another of those situations that seems to occur more than you would think was also being played out - the employee you are convinced is stealing, but somehow it can't (or doesn't) get proved. A car dealer found out the hard way those accusations can boomerang when an employee accused of stealing was no-billed by a grand jury. It wasn't the end of things at the Coryell County courthouse however -- Tranum loses $1.5 million civil case.
Costly reminders that there are always two sides to every story -- and being on the down side of one accusing an employee of wrong doing is not a good place to be.
Update: The initial verdict in the Maine case has now made its way through post-trial motions and been decided by the appellate court. Although the Court affirmed the basic defamation holding, it did strike the $2.1 million punitive damage award, leaving a verdict of $850,000 intact. Galarneau v. Merrill Lynch (1st Cir. 10/12/07).