Whistleblower Opts for Front Pay over Reinstatement

Lora Bentley

It's possible to get resolution in a Sarbanes-Oxley whistleblower case after all.


Unlike David Welch, who is still waiting for his case to be resolved nearly four years after the fact, former Washington Mutual Inc. vice president Theresa Hagman was recently awarded $1.2 million in attorney's fees, back pay, front pay and deferred compensation after the judge hearing her case decided that the bank dismissed her in retaliation for blowing the whistle on its illegal loan practices.


The judge ruled that Hagman was entitled to reinstatement, but she had a new job and didn't want the old one, according to the Seattle Post-Intelligencer. Instead, she asked for front pay, or the money she would have received had she been reinstated. The judge agreed, noting that he would not expect anyone to return the hostile work environment Hagman had endured after she blew the whistle.


The case is unique, according to Hagman's attorney, because it's the first one in which front pay was awarded. From now on, he says, front pay will be an option for those seeking relief under the Sarbanes-Oxley whistleblower provisions.

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