The drama continues to unfold around Highmark, as the insurer and its ousted CEO's attorney exchange barbs and accusations in the media.
Highmark now has disclosed the reasoning behind its decision to fire former CEO Kenneth Melani--he repeatedly lied to senior management officials about his relationship with junior employee Melissa Myler, and then he assaulted Myler's husband, reported the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review.
"The injuries resulting from Dr. Melani's gross and willful misconduct include injuries to the Blue Cross Blue Shield brand, the company's reputation, risk to business partners and financial harm," Highmark spokesman Michael Weinstein said.
But Melani isn't going away without a fight just yet. He has hired veteran employment rights lawyer Sam Cordes to review the situation surrounding his termination. Cordes said Melani may claim age or gender discrimination because Highmark fired him but not Myler, who is a young and female employee, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reported.
"We're going to explore every avenue we can," Cordes told the Pittsburgh Business Times. However, Cordes wouldn't clarify whether Melani was looking to get his job back but said he would examine all aspects of Melani's situation.
These latest developments come perilously close to affecting the insurer's business deals. The state insurance department will be scrutinizing Highmark's potential acquisition of the West Penn Allegheny Health System at an April 17 public hearing, noted the Business Times.