At the Law Offices of Frederick K. Brewington on December 29, Thomas Flanagan, Russell Thompson, Sarah Moffatt, Kyle Grant and Christine Flanagan (The Girl Scout Five), through their attorneys, announced the filing of a federal whistleblower lawsuit after complaining and reporting violations and abuses by the chief executive officer and then being mistreated and eventually fired for making the complaints. Even though their complaints were backed up with documentation, these five long-term employees with more than 100 years of service to the Girl Scouts of Suffolk County were unceremoniously terminated under a false claim that they had resigned. The suit, which is being filed in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York, details the wrongful acts raised by these high-ranking employees and the clear retaliation taken against them after their complaints led to the separation of the CEO about whom they had complained.
Girl Scouts of Suffolk County (GSSC) is one of the largest youth-serving agencies on Long Island. It is believed that the number of girls served is about approximately 15,500. The suit names the Girl Scouts of Suffolk County, Inc., Pamela Mastrota, Emily Brown, Tammy Severino, Donna Smeland, Jacqueline Gordon, Dawn Lott, Sarah McCandless, Brandy Scott and Jennifer Friedman. The collective Defendants engaged in retaliation and knowingly sought to and did wrongfully deprive Plaintiffs of their appropriate employment positions, title and pay, before ultimately terminating Plaintiffs in retaliation because Plaintiffs made a complaint to the Board of Directors and the Executive Board of the Girl Scouts of Suffolk County in reliance on and in accordance with the Girl Scouts of Suffolk County Handbook’s policies and procedures. It is the responsibility of all directors, officers and employees to report violations or suspected violations of high business and personal ethical standards and/or applicable legal requirements (violations) in accordance with this whistleblower policy. In opposing suspected fraud, accounting or auditing irregularities, and suspected regulatory, compliance and ethical issues concerns and violations, the Plaintiffs did exactly what they were obligated to do. Instead of being rewarded, they were retaliated against.
On June 22, 2021, without warning, and despite assertions to the contrary, GSSC terminated each and every Plaintiff's employment under the false pretense that the Plaintiffs did not wish to continue their employment. In a contrived and calculated letter, Defendant Smeland admitted that Plaintiffs were essentially being terminated "because there was now nothing more to discuss regarding severance, and because your separation has been delayed for this purpose only, your continued employment has become untenable." These five dedicated employees now bring this action to set the record straight and to prevent future acts of retaliation for workers who point out wrongdoing.
“All is not cookies and green at the Girl Scouts of Suffolk County,” said Mr. Brewington. “The way they were abused, the Girl Scouts should be ashamed of themselves. They tout themselves as an organization that teaches character and treating people fairly with equity and justice. There was nothing just or fair the way these individuals were treated when they were terminated summarily.”
A copy of the lawsuit can be found here.