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U.S. Department of Labor orders Lansing company to pay whistleblower $764,000

Equistar Chemicals
Posted at 3:50 PM, Jun 29, 2021
and last updated 2021-06-29 15:50:08-04

LANSING, Mich. — The U.S. Department of Labor has ordered a Lansing chemical company to rehire a whistelblower and pay that person more than $764,000 in lost wages, compensatory damages and attorney's fees.

Equistar Chemicals in Lansing placed one of their account managers on a performance improvement program and then fired them because the employee repeatedly expressed concerns about one of Equistar's proposed accounting practices.

Through a whistle-blower investigation, the Department of Labor determined the termination was illegal retaliation and that the account manager's actions were protected under Sarbanes-Oxley Act, which protects investors from fraudulent financial reporting by corporations.

Now Equistar Chemicals is being ordered to rehire the account manager, and their parent company, LyondellBasell, is being ordered to pay the employee $518,189 in lost wages and $145,293 in lost benefits along with $50,962 in interest and $50,000 in compensatory damages and attorney’s fees.

FOX47 reached out to Equistar Chemicals as well as LyondellBasell for comment but did not hear back.