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Factory whistleblower launches a wrongful termination lawsuit

Plaintiff Tim Pignato a former maintenance supervisor at  Givaudan Flavors has filed a law suit claiming that after complaining to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) about paint chips falling into the equipment he was fired.  Givaudan Flavors manufactures flavors for the beverages, dairy, savoury, sweet goods, health & wellness and food service industries to make their products more appealing to consumers.

According to the suit in October 2010, Givaudan Flavors hired a contractor to paint the flavor processing facility, but the new ceiling paint began to chip and fall into the blenders used to make food products.

Initially,  Tom Grant the Plant Manager stopped the production and ordered a “wet-washing” of the facility and instructed Pignato to hang plastic sheeting all over the production hall to prevent the peeling paint from getting into the blenders.    However, after he hung the plastic sheeting he realized that the steam from the “wet-washing” would cause more paint to flake. He then advised the Plant Manager to shut down production and strip the ceiling of paint, but Grant refused to do so.

Several days later, Pignato found paint chips throughout the facility, yet his bosses allegedly refused to shut down production.  Pignato then called the FDA to report the health and safety issue being ignored by his employer.

Within a few days of complaining to the FDA, he was fired.  There are many state and federal laws that protect employees against wrongful termination in retaliation for “doing the right thing”, including California’s Labor Code § 1102.5: “prohibits retaliation against employees who blow the whistle to a government agency on, or refuse to participate in, violations of laws and regulations in the workplace”.

If you have been the victim of wrongful termination, please give my office, The Law Offices of Todd M. Friedman a call today at 877-449-8898 for a free consultation.