Actress who complained of violent conduct on the set of her television series sued television producer after her contract to appear in the series was not renewed. Issues involved whether the failure to renew the contract was a wrongful discharge in violation of public policy, and, if not, whether the actress could allege under Lab. Code, § 6310, that the nonrenewal was in retaliation for a complaint of an unsafe workplace.
Aerospace employee sued her employer under the Fair Employment and Housing Act based on age and gender discrimination, and wrongful termination in violation of public policy. The jury awarded the employee more than $1.5 million in compensatory damages and $7 million in punitive damages. Issues included whether the employer’s explanation for the termination (a reduction in workforce and elimination of the position) was a pretext for improper discriminatory motives, and the propriety of the damage awards.
Plaintiff city bus operator was terminated for excessive absences. Under the collective bargaining agreement between his union and the city, any employee was subject to progressive discipline (including termination) if the employee had a certain number of absences. To avoid discipline, the employee could clear an absence from his or her count by not having any absences for 60 consecutive calendar days. But certain kinds of absences were expressly excluded from the rule allowing clearing of absences. One kind of excluded absence was an absence covered under the California Family Rights Act (Gov. Code, § 12945.2) (CFRA). The fired bus operator sued the city for retaliation based on his use of CFRA leave, failure to prevent retaliation, and interference with CFRA leave. Primary issues involved: (1) whether the city’s failure to count the days an employee is on CFRA leave when calculating the 60-day clearance period violated the CFRA, and (2) whether the city treated absences for jury duty, or military or bereavement leave, differently than it treated CFRA leave for the purpose of absence clearance.
Employee of chocolate making factory sued her employer alleging breach of the covenant of good faith and fair dealing, age discrimination and retaliation in violation of the Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA), and wrongful termination in violation of public policy. Issues included whether, although the employee was trained for and able to perform other duties after the phase-out of the machine she used, the reason for her termination (elimination of her position) was a pretext for unlawful discrimination, given that other similarly situated workers younger than she were relocated to other jobs.
City employee who was terminated after informing her superiors of her suspicions that a police officer had committed perjury sued the city for retaliation in violation of the protections for whistleblowers contained in Lab. Code, § 1102.5. Issues, among others, involved the viability of the City’s proffered nonretaliatory reasons for the termination.
Hon. Thomas L. Willhite, Jr. (Ret.)
915 Wilshire Boulevard, Suite 1900 Los Angeles, California 90017