Alleged Retaliatory Termination Following Internal Auditing Misconduct Report

This case study explores a scenario where an employee alleges wrongful termination following their report of misconduct within the internal auditing department of a government agency.

ByZach Barreto


Published on February 9, 2024

Group of employees reviewing financial documents

Case Overview

This case involves an individual who was employed in the internal auditing department of a government agency. The plaintiff reported alleged misconduct within their department, and shortly after this report, they were assigned projects that they claimed were unrealistic and designed to facilitate their termination. This action is perceived as retaliation for reporting the misconduct.

The crux of the case lies in determining whether the projects assigned to the plaintiff were indeed unreasonable, necessitating expert insight into internal auditing practices.

Questions to the Forensic Economics expert and their responses


Please describe your professional background in internal auditing.

I have over two decades of experience in Internal Audit, both in industry and public accounting. I've led multiple teams in scoping, planning, and executing Internal Audit projects. Since 2004, I've been a Certified Internal Auditor and a Certified Fraud Examiner.

I've published articles for the global body of Internal Auditors, the IIA, and spoken at international Internal Audit conferences on various topics. My experience also extends to serving clients in the public space, including Port Authority organizations.


What are some of the factors that influence the feasibility of completing an internal audit in a timely fashion?

Several factors determine the feasibility of completing an audit on time. These include the scope of the audit, timing, data required, skill set needed, and organizational resources necessary to accomplish the audit objectives. It's also crucial to cross-reference these with the auditor assigned to ensure they possess the required experience, skills, and competencies.


Have you ever reviewed a similar case? If yes, please elaborate.

Yes, I have conducted many wrongful termination investigations in the past, including those related to whistleblower retaliation.

In cases like this one, it's important to understand the history of audits conducted by this department before assigning these audits. This helps determine the overall fit with prior audits and the department's overall strategy and goal.

About the expert

This expert boasts over two decades of experience in forensic economics and accounting, with a focus on loss earnings assessments, fraud prevention, detection, and investigation. They hold certifications as a fraud examiner, internal auditor, and in risk management assurance. Their extensive career includes leadership roles in risk management and fraud investigation at major firms, authoring numerous publications on forensic economics, and currently serving as an adjunct professor of forensic accounting and the principal of a forensic accounting consultancy.

Expert headshot



About the author

Zach Barreto

Zach Barreto

Zach Barreto is a distinguished professional in the legal industry, currently serving as the Senior Vice President of Research at the Expert Institute. With a deep understanding of a broad range of legal practice areas, Zach's expertise encompasses personal injury, medical malpractice, mass torts, defective products, and many other sectors. His skills are particularly evident in handling complex litigation matters, including high-profile cases like the Opioids litigation, NFL Concussion Litigation, California Wildfires, 3M earplugs, Elmiron, Transvaginal Mesh, NFL Concussion Litigation, Roundup, Camp Lejeune, Hernia Mesh, IVC filters, Paraquat, Paragard, Talcum Powder, Zantac, and many others.

Under his leadership, the Expert Institute’s research team has expanded impressively from a single member to a robust team of 100 professionals over the last decade. This growth reflects his ability to navigate the intricate and demanding landscape of legal research and expert recruitment effectively. Zach has been instrumental in working on nationally significant litigation matters, including cases involving pharmaceuticals, medical devices, toxic chemical exposure, and wrongful death, among others.

At the Expert Institute, Zach is responsible for managing all aspects of the research department and developing strategic institutional relationships. He plays a key role in equipping attorneys for success through expert consulting, case management, strategic research, and expert due diligence provided by the Institute’s cloud-based legal services platform, Expert iQ.

Educationally, Zach holds a Bachelor's degree in Political Science and European History from Vanderbilt University.

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