Research Paper Help on IRAC Brief: Zulfer v. Playboy Enterprise, Inc.

IRAC Brief: Zulfer v. Playboy Enterprise, Inc.


     Whistleblowing often lands many employees in trouble, with the extremes of being wrongfully terminated from employment. The case of Zulfer highlights how the law is out to right this wrong. In many instances, the employees do not get to have justice because of the power of the individuals for whom they work. However, the California court, in this case, seeks to warn such employers by awarding the plaintiff punitive damages worth $6 million.

Case Description

In the above suit, the plaintiff, Zulfer, sued for wrongful termination after she refused to accept to accrue $ 6 million in executive bonuses (Pearlman, Baddish & Mufson, 2015). Under the requirements of the Playboy Company, the money had to be approved by the board of directors before it was forwarded to the CFO or CEO. After she subsequently took the matter to the attention of the General and SEC Counsel, the defendant retaliated by eventually firing her.

IRAC Brief

An analysis of Central District of California Case No. CV-12-08263-BRO is presented here using the IRAC method of case analysis.

Issue Whether the suit for wrongful termination could suffice under section 806 of SOX that seeks to protect employees in regard to whistleblowing.

Rule The jury decided to award Zulfer $6 million in punitive damages, which was done after the court determined that the defendant was indeed in violation of the rules of conduct as stipulated in SOX 806.

Analysis In this case, the playboy CFO acted with malice in the discharge of the plaintiff, who was lawfully acting as a loyal worker (Snell & Wilmer, 2015). He dismissed her on the premise of giving information, which is a gross violation of the whistleblower rules. The defense that Zulfer was not supposed to file a suit because she could not prove to that she had accrued the bonuses was void. The court observed the violation of the rules, which was the discharge of duty and was independent of the whether or not the plaintiff accrued bonuses (Siegal, 2015). In addition, the morality of the court had to be upheld through the recognition of the malice in which the defendant acted.

Application of Legal Concepts to a Business Setting

Concept 1 An employee cannot be wrongfully terminated for providing information that is beneficial to the organization.

Concept 2 The rules of business have to be governed by the law so that either party has a fair bargaining power

Concept 3 SOX 806 protects those who are under people with immense power in enterprises.


      The case was meant to act as a warning to those individuals who often abuse their power. It also seeks to protect employees against unscrupulous employers, by warning them of the consequences of breaking laws that regard employees. Business should also be governed by a high sense of morality, and that is what the case establishes.


Pearlman, S., Baddish, N., & Mufson, H. (2015, March 02). Proskaur whistleblower defense. Retrieved from

Snell & Wilmer. California jury awards $6 million in Sarbanes-Oxley Act whistleblower lawsuit. (2014, January 1). Retrieved March 26, 2015.

Siegal, D. (2015, January 1). Ex-Playboy VP Tells Jury She Was Fired For Exposing Fraud. Retrieved March 26, 2015.