Siouxsie Hopes You Didn’t Embezzle Any Funds from Your Work to Pay for This Year’s Holiday Party

Siouxsie suspects that there was an ugly-holiday-sweater contest at Mr. Gorman's illicit holiday extravaganza.

Here is a link to case with a nice holiday message —  don’t steal from your company to pay for your holiday bash, and for heathen’s sake, don’t sue the company when they fire you for doing so.

In November 2007, James Gorman decided to steal $1,300 from his company, Missouri Gas Energy, to throw an off-site holiday party for his subordinates and their spouses.  Ironically, Mr. Gorman held the position of compliance director for the company.  To carry out his party plan, Mr. Gorman asked his subordinate, Theresa Hartigan, to obtain a fictitious and back-dated invoice from a local caterer.   Mr. Gorman requested that Ms. Hartigan have the invoice state that the catering was related to a corporate-sponsored training session.

Next, Mr. Gorman asked another subordinate employee, Linda Lane, an Administrative Assistant, to create a phony transmittal form for the bogus catering invoice.  Ms. Lane refused to do so.  Apparently, Mr. Gorman found another way to do it.

Not surprisingly, the guys in accounting and Mr. Gorman’s supervisor discovered that the invoice was false.  The company conducted an investigation and learned that Mr. Gorman had done this same type of thing on at least one other occasion.

The company terminated Mr. Gorman’s employment.

In a brazen display of chutzpah, Mr. Gorman responded to the termination by suing the company.  He admits that he stole from the company to pay for the holiday party, but felt that termination was too harsh of a penalty.  In his lawsuit, Mr. Gorman claimed age discrimination and intentional infliction of emotional distress.

The court’s opinion doesn’t state whether or not the party ever took place.  Nor, does the opinion give the details on what kind of party Mr. Gorman was going to throw with the $1,300.00.  Siouxsie suspects that they were going to rent out a party room at their local Holiday Inn.  None of these details are relevant to the outcome of the case, but would have made the opinion a better read.

This is the most absurd case of the holiday season.   What were Mr. Gorman’s attorneys thinking?  As it turns out, Mr. Gorman was not even replaced with a younger employee (an often critical element for an age discrimination claim).  Instead his responsibilities were split among four other employees — three of whom are in their mid-fifties, and one who is in his sixties.

Siouxsie will be honest, she didn’t bother to read the whole opinion.  She didn’t need to.  Here is the bottom line — if you steal from your employer, expect to get fired.   And don’t file some frivolous age discrimination lawsuit in retaliation.

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~ by siouxsielaw on December 18, 2009.

One Response to “Siouxsie Hopes You Didn’t Embezzle Any Funds from Your Work to Pay for This Year’s Holiday Party”

  1. […] Don’t phony up invoices in order to pay for an unauthorized off-site Christmas party for your staff. And if you do, and get fired, don’t file a lawsuit claiming it was all the fault of age discrimination. [Gorman v. Missouri Gas Energy, W.D. Mo., via Siouxsie Law] […]

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