SEATTLE -- A King County Superior Court judge ruled this month against two former Microsoft managers who said they were inappropriately fired from the company after reporting another employee to their bosses.
The judge said the plaintiffs did not prove that complaining about another employee led to their firing.
The plaintiffs, Eric Engstrom and Ted Stockwell, were suspicious of a subordinate's expense reports, some of which totaled more than $7,000. The unnamed employee classified charges as "entertainment expenses" and said he was hosting corporate partners at "hostess bars" in South Korea, according to the original complaint filed by the plaintiffs.
Engstrom and Stockwell were concerned the employee may have been expensing prostitution services from the hostess bars and brought that information to their managers. The unnamed employee denied the expenses included any prostitution services.
Engstrom and Stockwell claimed they were then subject to unwarranted poor performance reviews and demotions from Microsoft managers who were friendly with the employee, and were eventually fired.
Microsoft denied the allegations when the case was filed in 2015.
King County Judge Veronica Galvan ruled against Engstrom and Stockwell, saying the plaintiffs "failed to establish that the expense concern they raised was a cause or a substantial factor for their terminations almost three years later."
She added that the pair did not make the case to satisfy the law they cited, the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, which involves bribery of foreign officials.
"There is no evidence of any bribery of foreign officials in this case," Galvan wrote.
Microsoft asked for, and received, a summary judgment in the case.
"The plaintiffs failed to provide evidence to back up their allegations, which is why a judge recently dismissed their case before it even got to trial," the company said in a statement.
Engstrom and Stockwell had both worked at Microsoft in the 1990s and returned in 2008. Both worked on the Bing team when the original expense reporting took place.
The plaintiffs have filed to appeal the case with the Washington Court of Appeals.
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