A former sales representative for Biomet, now part of Zimmer Biomet (NYSE:ZBH), filed a lawsuit claiming his former employer fired him for blowing the whistle on an alleged kickbacks scheme.
The sales representative, Michael Swiss, filed the lawsuit Oct. 22 in New York Supreme Court in Ulster County, alleging violations of the anti-retaliation provision of the New York False Claims Act. Swiss is seeking $10 million in damages.
Swiss alleged that the company ordered him to give trips, meals and other freebies to doctors and their staff as part of marketing its Biomet and Biomet 3i dental products. Swiss alleged that the free goods and services amounted to kickbacks, which aren’t allowed under the False Claims Act.
Swiss claimed he was Biomet’s 3rd-most-productive sales representative in 2009, but after repeatedly complaining about the gift-giving, the company put him on a performance improvement plan and later fired him.
Zimmer Biomet spokeswoman Monica Kendrick told the Indianapolis Star that the company won’t comment on specifics in the lawsuit and denied its main allegations.
Last year Biomet paid nearly $6.1 million to settle federal charges that it paid kickbacks to doctors to induce them to use bone growth stimulators sold by its EBI subsidiary, the U.S. Justice Dept. said today.
Material from Reuters was used in this report.