According to the website Inside the Bay Area (a division of the Oakland Tribune), a Fremont man, claiming he lost his job at Office Depot because he refused to falsify data that showed the company overcharged the city of Berkeley hundreds of thousands of dollars, is suing the office-supply giant in federal court.
Earl Ante, a former Office Depot salesman, seeks unspecified damages for lost wages, benefits, mental distress and punitive damages. He filed the suit in federal court in San Francisco about the same time the owner of a rival office-supply store in Hercules used purchasing records she obtained through a public records request to show Berkeley officials that Office Depot overcharged the city $289,000 from early 2007 to early 2009.
Berkeley officials conducted their own investigation of the city’s contract with Office Depot and came to the same conclusion. Office Depot paid back the city in April.
Three cheers for whistle-blowers, I say. This is just the latest in a string of Office Depot horror stories, but at least this one has a quasi-happy ending: the man didn’t do it. It’s despicable that Office Depot would not only overcharge their government customers, but also that they would ask someone to lie about it on paper. Not that OD asking employees to lie is anything new, but this is a pretty desperate move from a company that’s already facing allegations of misconduct in over five states.
I want to be clear: when OnTimeSupplies.com started this blog, we didn’t set out to specifically trash Office Depot every week. They just keep feeding me material.