A Philadelphia Common Pleas Court jury recently awarded a plaintiff $1.678 million in a
whistleblower case brought by a woman who contended she was fired from her job in retaliation for raising concerns about her boss.
Attorneys with Philadelphia’s Console Law Offices, who represented the plaintiff, Marla Pietrowski, announced that the jury reached its unanimous verdict on Friday evening March 22 after a five-day trial.
The court record shows that Pietrowski sued The Kintock Group back in the fall of 2011 over her termination, which she alleged was due to the fact that she had raised concerns about her manager’s drug activity and the fact that he apparently violated public policy when he brought his child to a facility where convicted child predators were assigned to report.
The Kintock Group is a corporation that provides transition services to ex-convicts who have recently been released from prison, and the plaintiff worked for the agency as a senior case manager.
The jury determined that the defendant did, in fact, violate the New Jersey Conscientious Employee Protection Act, which was the basis for the wrongful termination suit.
While Pietrowski worked in New Jersey, the plaintiff’s lawyers noted that the case was filed in Philadelphia’s Common Pleas Court because the company’s headquarters are located in Philadelphia, and it regularly conducts business in the Philadelphia region.
Pietrowski, who made about $44,000 a year at her job, was awarded full back pay of $77,988.75 and $100,000 for pain and suffering, the record shows.
Additionally, the plaintiff was awarded a total of $1.5 million in punitive damages.
Console attorneys Laura Carlin Mattiacci and Rahul Mnushi represented Pietrowski at trial, and Mattiacci has reportedly said that she will be filing a fee petition because under the CEPA statute the prevailing party is entitled to attorneys’ fees and costs, which would bring the overall judgment to more than $2 million.
In a statement issued by her law firm, Pietrowski said that she felt vindicated by the verdict.
“I feel so thankful to the jury for their ability to see that I was the victim of abuse of power and that employees who stand up to their employers and voice concerns about wrongdoing in the workplace should not fear being fired,” she stated.
At trial, the jury found that Pietrowski reasonably believed that a manager of hers was engaged in drug activity and that he violated public policy when he brought his child to the facility visited by convicted child predators.
The trial was presided over by Philadelphia Common Pleas Court Judge Annette M. Rizzo.