A whistleblower case filed by a former athletic trainer for the Belleville High School football team is moving forward, after surviving a motion for summary judgment. As reported by the NorthJersey.com, the complaint alleges that the team physician, Dr. Michael Russonella, was attempting to profit from his position by steering student-athletes to his medical practice. The lawsuit further alleges that Dr. Russonella would inject players with “numbing agents” to get them back into action quicker. The whistleblower objected to these and other practices. The team trainer alleged that after she objected to these practices, she was retaliated against in numerous ways, including verbal abuse and harassment, reduction of her hours, and termination of her employment.
As with all cases, the plaintiff’s claims here are only allegations until a jury decides whether or not they are true. We will continue to follow this interesting case.
We recommend that employees who are whistleblowers or potential whistleblowers contact an experienced employment attorney early on in the process, in order to provide them with legal advice and guidance. Blowing the whistle is a major life decision that should not be undertaken without careful consideration of all the ramifications for your career, finances, and emotional health.