• August 1, 2018

Steve Dupuis was president of a company in Memphis, Tennessee, where he made $600,000/year. He left that job to be the president of GATR Truck Center, near St. Cloud, Minnesota, for $350,000/yr plus deferred and equity compensation that would vest after employment of a set number of years.

Mr. Dupuis was obviously willing to take quite a pay cut.

We have to assume that Mr. Dupuis was not very happy in Memphis and/or he envisioned a steep rise in income after jumping over to GATR.

Unfortunately for Mr. Dupuis, after he took the job at GATR, he appears to have discovered (or he alleges) that Mr. Neitzke, GATR’s CEO, had been arrested for soliciting prostitutes, that Mr. Neitzke sexually harassed GATR employees, that Mr. Neitzke “over-financed” used truck inventory, and that Mr. Neitzke cheated sales-people out of commissions. Mr. Dupuis appears to have discovered Mr. Neitzke’s “severely damaged reputation” (to use his words) too late.

Mr. Dupuis resigned after about 1.5 years at GATR. He sued GATR for “fraudulent inducement.” In other words, he seems to suggest that Mr. Neitzke owed him a duty to disclose his alleged sleazy behavior and bad reputation. Mr. Dupuis lost.

Job interviews would be quite extraordinary if there were a duty to disclose one’s personal “severely damaged reputation” (see opinion at p.3). If the obligation were two-way, job interviews would be even more intense.

That is not going to happen.

Perhaps the route that Mr. Dupuis should have taken was, while employed, to confront Mr. Neitzke about his alleged misconduct, get fired, and bring a lawsuit against Mr. Neitzke under the whistle-blower statute? The strategy operates on the assumption that Mr. Neitzke, when confronted with Mr. Dupuis’ allegations of sleaze, would have cut Mr. Dupuis loose. Too late to explore that option. (We wonder if he did.)

Incidentally, National Whistleblower Day was just a few days ago.

 

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