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The Labor & Employment Report

Another Slap on the Wrist – for the Plaintiff

Posted in Litigation

It’s pretty clear I love a good comeuppance.  In my last blog post, I reveled in an Administrative Law Judge’s reprimand of the General Counsel of the National Labor Relations Board for bringing a frivolous complaint against an employer.  In an earlier post, I discussed with glee a federal judge’s upbraiding of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission for the same type of thing.  In this one, I am enjoying a judge’s slapping (metaphorically, not literally) of a lying plaintiff.

All too often in our practice, we deal with employees who lie.  I am certainly not saying that all employees lie, but there are definitely some bad actors out there.  It makes me crazy when my manager clients, who really are trying to do the right thing, are being falsely accused of wrongdoing by one of these malcontent, ethically-challenged employees.  And, again all too often, there is no real recourse against these lying plaintiffs.

So it was with great pleasure that I read a June 16, 2014 Maryland Daily Record article by Danny Jacobs, discussing a covenant-not-to-compete case in which the plaintiff lied about his whereabouts on the night he copied his employer’s digital  files.  The plaintiff subsequently left the firm and starting competing with his old employer.  Using cell-phone analysis, the employer was able to prove that the plaintiff had been less than truthful.  The employer then asked for its expert costs and attorneys’ fees associated with the cell phone analysis.

Employers often ask for this type of relief, but, realistically, it is rarely awarded.  But in this case, the (wise and rational) judge found that the plaintiff “acted in bad faith … by committing perjury” and ordered him to pay the employer $11,098.  On behalf of all beleaguered employers, rejoice!