Morgan Stanley won the latest round in its high-profile battle with IT employee Arthur Riel, who was fired for sharing e-mails that revealed questionable practices at the firm. Riel lost on all counts of wrongful firing, prevailing only on a single breach-of-contract complaint.
A Southern New York District judge ruled that Morgan Stanley’s internal codes of conduct and ethics, which forbid retaliation against whistle-blowers, are not legally binding.
Riel prevailed on one count that the firm breached its executive incentive-compensation plan by firing him for cause in bad faith, thereby depriving him of stock and options worth several hundred thousand dollars.
Advice: Don’t take the court’s ruling about internal codes of conduct as a green light to retaliate against whistle-blowers. Depending on the accusations, employees could be protected by a number of federal and state laws.
- How to Fire an Employee the Legal Way: 6 Termination Guidelines
- 10 Secrets to an Effective Performance Review
- How does FMLA leave overlap with paid vacation, sick and personal leave?
- The hard truth by 'Z': How's your learning curve?
- Beware desperate 'whistle-blower': Document reason for firing to stop retaliation claim
- Returning soldiers aren't at-Will employees ... temporarily