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Rating:Ex-Fidelity Worker Claims She is a Protected Whistleblower Not Rated 2.0 Email Routing List Email & Route  Print Print
Thursday, March 27, 2008

Ex-Fidelity Worker Claims She is a Protected Whistleblower

Reported by Armie Margaret Lee

An former finance director at Fidelity Investments sued the Boston Behemoth last week, alleging that company "embarked on a campaign to discredit, harass and intimidate" her after she raised concerns regarding fund profitability methods.

Jane Hosang Lawson, a former senior director of finance, lodged the complaint on March 20 at the US District Court District of Massachusetts. The suit listed FMR Corp., its successor FMR LLC and subsidiary Fidelity Brokerage Services as defendants.

In the suit, she alleges that her managers made her workplace unendurable after she questioned the methodology the Personal Investments unit used to calculate reports provided to the Fidelity mutual fund trustees to allow them to calculate mutual fund profitability. Hosang then notified the Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administraton (OSHA) of her concerns.

Lawson claims her report to OSHA was a whistle-blowing activity related to the accuracy of the information on fund profitability provided to the Fidelity Mutual Funds Board of Trustees and that as a whistle blower she was protected under Sarbanes-Oxley.

Fidelity spokesman Vin Loprochio told The MFWire that the firm believes the claims are "without merit."

"We consider baseless any suggestion that there was any wrongful conduct whatsoever related to methodologies used to determine fund profitability," Loporchio said, adding that methodologies are "regularly reviewed and assessed by independent auditors of the funds.

In her complaint, Lawson narrated that she had filed claims regarding the retaliation with the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, an agency within the Department of Labor, but said Fidelity "took no actions to stop the retaliation, and instead claimed that its employees are not protected by the Sarbanes Oxley whistleblower protections."

Lawson said she was subjected to "unendurable working conditions," forcing her to resign from the company.

She is seeking, among other things, permanent injunctive relief directing Fidelity to reinstate Lawson at her previous level of senior director, and back pay with interest.

Follow this link to see the complaint in its entirety.  

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