The North Carolina Department of Public Safety and its former deputy secretary are being sued by a fired state prison health care employee. The lawsuit was brought under the Whistleblower Act and a whistleblower protection provision in state law written due to the man’s prior efforts.
The lawsuit was filed in the Wake County Superior Court, according to NewsObserver, and named the agency and William Ellis Boyle in his official, not personal, capacity. Before he left this March, Boyle was deputy secretary and general counsel.
According to whistleblower allegations, Boyle retaliated against him this past December. The whistleblower alleges he attempted to report the theft or misuse of state property that included State Health Plan funds at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center in Winston-Salem, which is where he previously worked, the NewsObserver reported.
The whistleblower also alleges that Public Safety officials told him not to pursue the issue on work time because it was not related to his then-current job. The man’s attorney has argued that, in fact, North Carolina state law mandated the whistleblower to pursue the reported misuse of state money, and it that it did not matter in what department the unethical behavior occurred, wrote the NewsObserver.
The whistleblower contested his firing and, most recently, an administrative law judge ruled that he did not have a right to a hearing since he was manager and was exempt from the state personnel law. Because of this, the judge stated that the whistleblower could be fired at will, NewsObserver indicated.
The whistleblower claims that he saved the state millions of dollars because he consistently pointed out examples of wasteful spending and lax oversight. State law was changed because of the whistleblower’s work and extended protection to anyone who alleges wrongdoing that involves the State Health Plan, NewsObserver reported.
The whistleblower is suing for unspecified damages and also claims those damages should be tripled under the state Whistleblower Act. He also seeks to be rehired with back pay and benefits, according to NewsObserver.