A Colorado woman and former mortgage consultant won a lawsuit against her former employer and was awarded over $35,000 as a result. Three of the woman's former colleagues were not so fortunate, as the jury hearing the case found in favor of the employer with respect to those three people.
The lawsuit alleged, and the jury agree, that the woman's mortgage company, American Financial Corporation, fired her after she complained about systemic problems which included the use of misleading or false information on mortgage loan applications. American Financial makes its home in the greater Denver area.
As is the case in other states, Colorado prohibits an employer from disciplining or firing an employee because that employee chooses to report suspected unlawful conduct. An employer who chooses to ignore this law may face a retaliation claim from its employee or, in this case, former employee.
In this case, the woman accused her employer of covering up mortgage fraud by allowing some to use false documents and mortgage applications that would entice a bank to give a loan they otherwise would not make. The woman also alleged that management was involved in this cover up. The company fired her after she made efforts to bring these practices to light.
For its part, American Financial expressed disappointment with the jury's verdict in favor of the woman, but they gave no clear indication as to whether the company intended to appeal the decision.
The important point of this case to other workers in the Denver area is that they have a broad right to expose illegal behavior within the workplace and, specifically, are at liberty to report such behavior to authorities. If an employer does not respect this right, an aggrieved employee may have legal options available to her.