Community Health Systems (NYSE:CYH) Loses $1.9 million Over Whistleblower Lawsuit

Community Health Systems (NYSE:CYH) Loses $1.9 million Over Whistleblower Lawsuit

Community Health Systems (NYSE:CYH) has been ordered to pay $1.9 million to its former employee who sued the company for wrongful dismissal.

Gregg Becker, who was the chief financial officer at a clinic owned by Community Health, alleged in his suit that the company terminated his employment after he refused to alter financial projections. He said Community Health wanted him to reduce a projected $12.8 million loss to a $4 million loss. He balked at the demand. That caused Becker to seek legal redress, and after years of push and pull, a court granted his wish, ordering Community Health to pay him $1.9 million in compensation covering various claims.

The compensation includes back payment of $341,380, front payment of about $1.5 million and damages and attorneys’ fees of $15,000.

Community Health expressed disappointment with court order and has appealed the ruling. But Becker could rattle Community Health further considering that he has sued the company in a state court, alleging the company fired him when he refused to violate state laws that prohibit misleading financial reporting.

“We were disappointed with this administrative judge’s decision on Mr. Becker’s appeal,” said Community Health’s spokeswoman Tomi Galin.

Turbulent times for Community Health

The court order comes as Community Health is already undergoing several problems. The company sank billions in a series of asset acquisitions that failed to pay off, leaving it deep in the red. Community Health finished 3Q16 with total debt of more than $15.3 billion.

The company has been divesting assets and laying off employees to unlock funds to clean up its balance sheet. The layoffs are expected to help Community Health whittle down operating costs, so that it can improve its bottom line. The company has $2.2 billion in debt due 2018.

Community Health generated revenue of $4.38 billion in 3Q16, down almost 10% from the same period last year.

The stock of Community Health rose 0.73% in the last session to close at $5.51.