WPA Does Not Hinge on Prevailing Party Status
An employee claimed his municipal employer violated the Whistleblower Protection Act (WPA) by terminating him in retaliation for complaints he made about mismanagement and waste. The employer countered that he was fired for viewing pornography on his work computer. A jury found the town violated the WPA but did not award the employee any damages. On appeal addressing a question of first impression, whether the employee was entitled to attorneys’ fees, the court sided with the employee. Although the employee who recovered no damages would not be considered a prevailing party under the WPA, the Act does not condition attorneys’ fees on an employee’s status as a prevailing party; so he was entitled to fees.