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Eden Prairie, Minn. firm settles wrongful termination suits

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in Firing,Human Resources

Starkey Laboratories, an Eden Prairie, Minn. maker of hearing aids, has settled two wrongful termination lawsuits that followed the sacking of several top executives two years ago.

The bloodbath began following an internal investigation that found a cabal consisting of the company president and two executives conspired to embezzle more than $20 million.

The settlements went to a former vice president and a former executive assistant who were swept up in the resulting purge. They both filed lawsuits alleging their firings constituted a breach of contract.

The executive assistant was married to the company’s HR director. She claimed the company fired her only because of their relationship. She argued her termination was “marital status discrimination” in violation of the Minnesota Human Rights Act.

Terms of the settlements paid to the two were confidential.

The company president, HR director and chief financial officer have been charged in federal court with embezzlement by using a complex series of transactions involving restricted company stock. The president has sued the company over his termination, but that case is on hold while the criminal trial moves forward.

Note: When employee malfeasance occurs, relationships with related or married employees can get awkward. Always consult your attorney when handling sticky situations like this one.

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