A former part-time JCPenney employee has filed a lawsuit claiming retaliation after he reported the retailer was overcharging customers.
The fired employee has filed a claim against the company under Florida’s Private Whistleblower Act, Fortune reports. Former CEO Ron Johnson could be required to give a deposition.
The employee worked in the custom decorating department in the Penney’s store in St. Petersburg, Florida between 2007 and 2009 and again, part time, from August 2012 to July 2013. He says his manager, and later the company, retaliated against him after he reported that the store was charging full price for sale items and collecting sales tax on nontaxable items, according to Fortune.
Emails confirm that the company examined the allegations. In March 2013, an auditor noted that “investigative results” were discussed with company management and “they have addressed or will address them accordingly,” Fortune reports. But the employee was dissatisfied with the lack of a publicly announced company plan to rectify the problems and he went public on the Today Show in July 2013. JCPenney fired him and sued him for theft of trade secrets. Penney’s later dropped the suit, but the employee said his reputation had been damaged and he had not worked since he was fired from JCPenney. He filed an arbitration claim against the company last month, charging retaliation for having spoken out against practices he witnessed inside his office and from the top of the organization. The company has not yet filed a response to the suit, Fortune reports.