Oracle Settles Whistleblower Retaliation Suit

SAN FRANCISCO (CN) — Oracle quietly settled a lawsuit from a high-ranking accountant who claimed she was fired for threatening to blow the whistle on its illegal accounting practices.

Former senior finance manager Svetlana Blackburn sued Oracle in June 2016, claiming it fired her for refusing to create false financial reports that inflated the company’s revenue.

After Blackburn sued, Oracle was hit with two shareholder class actions accusing the Redwood City-based company of defrauding investors. Oracle settled both lawsuits in August for undisclosed amounts.

In her complaint, Blackburn said she was ordered to add millions of dollars in unsupported revenue to financial reports for Oracle’s cloud services, despite lack of billings to support those numbers.

After refusing to go along with the fraud and trying to report the improprieties to superiors, Blackburn said, she was fired on Oct. 15, 2015. She said she was fired because she refused to cook the books and threatened to blow the whistle.

In an August court filing, Oracle said it fired Blackburn due to “ongoing performance issues,” not because she threatened to expose the company’s allegedly fraudulent accounting practices.

Blackburn sought punitive damages for wrongful termination and unlawful retaliation under California and federal law.

The terms of her settlement with Oracle were not disclosed.

U.S. District Judge Edward Chen signed a stipulation dismissing the lawsuit with prejudice on Friday.

Blackburn’s attorney Daniel Velton, with Velton Zegelman in Sunnyvale, and Oracle spokeswoman Julia Allyn did not return phone calls seeking comment Friday.

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