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Fired JCPenney Employee in Florida Files Whistleblower Lawsuit

Mar 26, 2015

A Florida JCPenney employee has filed a lawsuit claiming he was fired in retaliation for reporting that the retailer was overcharging customers.

The man filed a claim against JCPenney under Florida's Private Whistleblower Act, Fortune reports. The company's former CEO, Ron Johnson, could be required to give a deposition in the case.

The fired employee worked in the custom decorating department of the St. Petersburg, Florida Penney's store, first from 2007 and 2009 and then returning, part time, from August 2012 to July 2013. While a store employee, he reported that the store was charging full price for items on sale and was also collecting sales tax on nontaxable items, according to Fortune.

Emails confirm that the employee's allegations were looked into. In March 2013, an auditor wrote that "investigative results" were discussed with company management and "they have addressed or will address them accordingly." But, according to Fortune, the employee was dissatisfied that JCPenney did not publicly announce a plan to rectify the problems. He discussed the matter on the Today Show in July 2013. JCPenney then fired him and sued him for theft of trade secrets. The company later dropped its suit, but the fired employee continued to pursue his complaint. He said his reputation had been damaged and he had not worked since he was fired. He filed an arbitration claim against the company last month, charging retaliation for his reporting of practices he had witnessed. JCPenney has not yet filed a response to the suit, according to Fortune.

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