HOUSTON (CN) – A federal judged tossed claims that General Electric fired its former country executive for Iraq and stiffed him for final wages after he raised concerns that his employer violated the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act.
Khaled Asadi, a dual citizen of the United States and Iraq, filed a federal complaint against G.E. Energy (USA) in February.
Asadi served as G.E.’s country executive for Iraq from an office in Amman, Jordan, according to his amended complaint.
“On or about June of 2010 Mr. Asadi met with one of his contacts within the government regarding negotiations for a joint venture agreement between G.E. and the Iraqi Ministry of Electricity,” the amended complaint states.
“At this meeting Mr. Asadi was made aware of concerns within the government that G.E. had hired Iman Mahmood, a woman closely associated with Mr. Raad Al Haris, Senior Deputy Minister of Electricity, in order to curry favor with the minister while negotiating a lucrative joint venture agreement.
“In his capacity as Sr. Deputy Minister, Raad Al Haris was the government ‘sponsor’ of the joint venture agreement with G.E.
“The allegation was that Raad Al Haris had specifically requested that G.E. hire Mahmood for this position.
“Although the nature of their relationship was unclear, the source specifically warned that G.E. was ‘pimping its way to the agreement with the hiring of [Mahmood].'”
Asadi says that after he reported the information within the company, G.E. pressured him to leave his position, until finally terminating him.
U.S. District Judge Nancy Atlas granted G.E.’s motion to dismiss for failure to state a claim on Thursday. Atlas dismissed Asadi’s whistleblower claim under the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act with prejudice and his claim for breach of contract without prejudice.
Asadi does not fit the act’s definition of a whistleblower as someone who reports a violation of securities laws to the Securities and Exchange Commission.
But Asadi says the act’s Anti-Retaliation Provision defines whistleblower more broadly.
Regardless of whether Asadi qualifies as a whistleblower under the provision, his claim falls short in other aspects, according to Atlas.
The judge found that the Anti-Retaliation Provision does not protect extraterritorial whistleblowing activity, nor could Asadi find relief via the provision’s incorporation of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act and the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act.
After dismissing the whistleblower claim, Atlas refused to exercise supplemental jurisdiction over the breach of contract claim in the 25-page order.