A King County Superior Court judge has dismissed a wrongful termination case against Microsoft filed by two former employees in 2015.
Judge Veronica Galván ruled against George (Eric) Engstrom and John (Ted) Stockwell on Oct. 19, granting Microsoft’s motion for summary judgment. The former employees sued Microsoft two years ago, after alleging that they were the targets of internal retaliation and subsequent wrongful termination.
In her decision, Galván said Engstrom and Stockwell “have failed to establish the clarity, jeopardy and causation elements of their wrongful discharge claims.” She added that they “have failed to satisfy the causation element of their claims and have failed to establish a public policy which would protect them, as at-will employees, from termination of their employment.”
Microsoft said in a statement, “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 former employees alleged that they were the targets of internal retaliation after raising red flags about more than $7,000 in expenses submitted by an unnamed employee who was entertaining corporate partners at “hostess bars” in Korea. According to the suit, Microsoft launched an investigation based on concerns that the employee might be expensing prostitution for partners — concerns that the unnamed employee denied.
In the suit, Engstrom, who was one of the creators of DirectX, and Stockwell, a high-ranking Microsoft manager, said they experienced retaliation and negative performance reviews, in contrast with their past promotions and strong evaluations inside the company.
Stockwell and Engstrom were let go in December 2013 and January 2014, according to the suit. They have filed to appeal the dismissal of the case, according to King County Court records.