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Curtis Heffernan the Executive Vice President of Ignite fired after confronting CEO about inappropriate business expenses

Curtis Heffernan was hired at Ignite International as a senior vice president of sales in March 2019 and was promoted to executive vice president reporting directly to CEO and founder Dan Bilzerian in November. Heffernan was then fired about 6 months later after he questioned the company principles of tactics to hide Ignite’s cash-flow problems, including overstating the company’s revenue by reporting loans as miscellaneous income.  After being fired, Heffernan filed a whistleblower complaint alleging that Bilzerian fired him because he tried to call attention to a proposal to misclassify a government Paycheck Protection Program loan as income.

According to Heffernan he has been pressured to appease the company’s auditors by approving more than $350,000 in total expenditures on Bilzerian’s home, including a $75,000 paintball field, a $40,000 rock climbing wall, a $45,000 game room and a $15,000 Ping-Pong table. Auditors have also raised concerns about over $800,000 in questionable expenses which led to a draft report released in June stating that there was a lack of internal controls and documented standard operating procedures around the review and approval of expenses.

Allegedly, when the costs to maintain Bilzerian’s house were in question on a budget call in June, Bilzerian justified the expenses by saying “I’m going to be doing some summer pool parties and will utilize the house,” according to the complaint. The reasoning behind Bilzerian’s actions were allegedly justified due to his attempt at creative marketing for the cannabis industry and utilizing his 30 million followers on Instagram as the base of his marketing strategy.

Heffernan stated in his lawsuit that despite Ignites position as a leader of creative marketing, he was extremely uncomfortable with the excessive and inappropriate business expenses while reporting a loss of $69 million in 2019. Heffernan stated he was also not willing to approve expenses and when he expressed his concerns, Bilzerian accused him of taking drugs and acting strange. The lawsuit alleges whistleblower retaliation, defamation and wrongful termination, and is seeking unspecified damages, costs, fees and other relief.

If you feel that you have been wrongfully terminated, or you have been discriminated against because of your disability and would like to know your rights as an employee in the state of California, please contact the attorneys at the California Employment Legal Group today for a free consultation with an experienced employment lawyer.

Can what you say and do outside of work impact your career?

Although we have rights like the first amendment, we are still held accountable to our actions off the clock. If your actions on social media and behavior outside of work lead your employer to believe you are compromising the company policy then this could impact your career and lead to termination. Have you ever gossiped about someone at work or acted out in public outside of work? You could potentially be creating a hostile work environment by gossiping about coworkers. With emerging technology, smartphones and social media we have now crossed lines between personal and professional lives. If you are acting out in public and prone to aggressive behavior or violence this is leeway for employers to take action against you to maintain a safe and peaceful workplace. In every U.S. state except Montana employers can hire and fire workers for just about any reason except discriminatory ones.

Discrimination is based on status such as race or sex, not behavior. Laws in a few states including California, Colorado and New York make it harder for companies to fire people for off -the-clock behavior.  Union represented employees or high-ranking executives stipulate that workers can be terminated only “for cause.” The “cause” refers to specifically performing poorly or violating corporate policies. Employers have wide latitude to fire people for things they say or do online and in public off the clock but that doesn’t mean that your employer will admit to firing you for discriminatory reasons.

If you feel that you have been wrongfully terminated, or you have been discriminated against because of your disability and would like to know your rights as an employee in the state of California, please contact the attorneys at the California Employment Legal Group today for a free consultation with an experienced employment lawyer.

Pinterest retaliates against Female Tech Executive after she speaks up about gender equality

Francoise Brougher was mistreated and fired after she started speaking up about sexist treatment. Being left out of important meetings, gendered feedback, being paid less than her male peers when she joined the company. The case has further details of issues and complaints she spoke up about with her chief executive Ben Silberman who dismissed all concerns and human resources treated the complaint as a legal matter.

Other issues include how Ms. Brougher also discussed the constant exclusion with Pinterest’s chief financial officer, Todd Morgenfeld and he asked her “what is your job anyway?” This comment happened in front of peers and he then offered formal feedback that Brougher viewed as sexist.

When Ms. Brougher confronted him about it on a video call he raised his voice and hung up on her. In April after the conversation Ms. Brougher was terminated. She was told she wasn’t collaborating enough. Pinterest then asked her to announce that “leaving” was entirely her decision.

Pinterest has been criticized in the past from former employees who quit in May. The former employees were victims of racist and sexist comments, pay inequities and retaliation they experienced at the company. Ms. Brougher’s lawsuit suggests that bias against women has persisted, even after past victims of the culture of sexual harassment toward female tech’s, female executives and entrepreneurs who have also become part of the #MeToo movement.

If you feel that you have been wrongfully terminated, or you have been discriminated against because of your disability and would like to know your rights as an employee in the state of California, please contact the attorneys at the California Employment Legal Group today for a free consultation with an experienced employment lawyer.

 

Whistleblower Lawsuit alleging Retaliation and Discrimination

Francesca Tucker-Schuyler a former Montebello city manager since 2010 has filed a lawsuit claiming whistleblower retaliation after she attempted to inquire and report issues regarding public work repairs and bidding procedures.

Tucker-Schuyler reported issues and was ignored, after researching further, she sent emails about regulations regarding the city’s alleged violations of bidding laws. She attempted to reach out to the City Attorney’s office and did not receive a response. Tucker-Schuyler was then voted to be put on administrative leave by city council in November of 2017. She was then fired in February 2019.

According to Tucker Schuyler she was never given an official explanation or reason for her termination. In addition, anyone who was put in her position and replaced her permanently were male. The lawsuit was filed and is including allegations of whistleblower retaliation, discrimination based on sex, wrongful termination, and failure to prevent discrimination.

If you feel that you have been wrongfully terminated, or you have been discriminated against because of your disability and would like to know your rights as an employee in the state of California, please contact the attorneys at the California Employment Legal Group today for a free consultation with an experienced employment lawyer.

 

Nike and Former Manager accused of Racial Discrimination against customers and employees

A lawsuit has emerged after a former manager named Wendy Magee at the Nike’s Santa Monica outpost has been accused of racially discriminating against black employees and The Stallworth-Dickerson family who were harassed because they were black customers. The couple and their 19-month-old son purchased a $12 mini basketball and claim that they were chased and harassed and accused of not paying for the ball. Magee then acquired the help of two Santa Monica police officers who intimidated and detained the couple until they handed over the receipt for the purchase. Magee lied and told the police that the couple stole the ball and the police failed to confirm the story before detaining the couple.

According to the history of the former manager, Nike has always supported her efforts and appreciated her efforts toward lost prevention. Nike has also always ignored complaints of Magee’s racist and degrading behavior toward employees and black customers. Employees have made claims that Magee has a history of using racial code language to refer to Black customers and she has also discriminated against Black employees.

The incident has led to Magee immediately filing a wrongful termination lawsuit after she was fired for the incident. Magee is named in the Stallworth-Dickerson lawsuit in addition to Nike Retail Services Inc. as part of the discrimination as she refused to provide equal access to Nike’s products and service on account of their race by following, harassing, defaming and accusing them of stealing a purchased basketball. In addition, Magee is being accused of depriving them of rights, privileges, and immunities secured by the constitution and the laws of the United States. Nike bears full responsibility of the claims of unlawful detention and false arrest, imprisonment, intentional infliction of emotional distress, and negligent supervision and retention, as well as violations of California’s Unruh Act which outlaws’ discrimination, including on the basis of race, and the Ralph Act, a state discrimination-centric statute.

If you feel that you have been wrongfully terminated, or you have been discriminated against because of your disability and would like to know your rights as an employee in the state of California, please contact the attorneys at the California Employment Legal Group today for a free consultation with an experienced employment lawyer.

Dismissal leads to Windsor Principle Suing the School Board

Windsor Principle Tiffany Riley filed a lawsuit claiming that the Mount Ascutney School Board dismissed her “without seeking any explanation or input” from her or considering her past and current performance. Riley is currently on a paid administration leave following her facebook posts on Black Lives Matter and alleges that the board made defamatory remarks about her and violated her free speech and due process rights.

Under law it is clear that Riley’s employment with the district had ended but could be debatable between the attorneys involved. Input from scholars and lawyers not involved in the case have encouraged debate. The term dismissal leads to the belief that perhaps this is punishment for her Facebook post and it just and correct actions to take due to the fact that she is a principle, as a principle her rights are diminished, however if the free speech doesn’t go against the mission of the organization it shouldn’t be an issue. Political opinions and her role as principle will come into question. The post was made on a school day but there is no evidence that the post was made during school hours on a school computer.

The lawsuit specifically mentions Superintendent David Baker and his statement in a Valley News article where he called Riley’s Facebook post “outright racist.” According to David Baker Riley was placed on leave not terminated. According to Riley the remarks have damaged her and created reasonable expectations that she wont be able to find another job in the area.

If you feel that you have been wrongfully terminated, or you have been discriminated against because of your disability and would like to know your rights as an employee in the state of California, please contact the attorneys at the California Employment Legal Group today for a free consultation with an experienced employment lawyer.

Sexist Discrimination Lawsuit emerges against Sullivan County Department of Corrections

Former Corrections Officer Tori Jacques has filed a lawsuit against Sullivan County DOC and superintendent Dave Berry in May. Jacques claims that colleagues made sexist comments about her job performance and appearance while working. Jacques spoke up about the gender discrimination and was ignored and retaliated against.

Jacques started in June 2016 and was promoted to corporal. Male staff members started gossiping about her and claiming she “had no idea what she was doing.” One officer made a comment about how much he “hated” her and made inappropriate comments about her tattoos. The same staff member openly speculated about another staff member’s sexuality. Another comment was made when Jacques applied to be on the jail’s Correctional Emergency Response Team but got discouraged after she heard that some male staff members asked, “since when do we put females on C.E.R.T anyway?” Jacques stated that there was a recording with some male staff members stating that a woman had only been hired by the department to perform sexual acts.

Jacques claims that there were constant conversations that were derogatory towards female and gay staff members. There was also a claim reported by Jacques about an inmate being sexually harassed, stating that a corrections officer discussed his genitals in front of her making the woman uncomfortable.

All the claims that Jacques reported to her supervisor were ignored, she was also accused of falsifying her reports about the complaints she made. Jacques left her job because all of her claims were not investigated and instead her integrity was questions. She then applied for a corrections job in a different county but was denied because the Sullivan County Officials spoke poorly of her and made it impossible to obtain employment in the field she specialized. The lawsuit includes complaints about sexism and discrimination that were not taken seriously.

If you feel that you have been wrongfully terminated, or you have been discriminated against because of your disability and would like to know your rights as an employee in the state of California, please contact the attorneys at the California Employment Legal Group today for a free consultation with an experienced employment lawyer.

ACLU of Southern California Discriminates and Wrongfully Terminates a A black woman attempting to stop hostile work environment harassment

Sarah O. Clifton, was hired by ACLU in September 2018 as a staff attorney and was wrongfully terminated by her white supervisor Jessica Farris. She has since filed a lawsuit for wrongful discharge, retaliation, hostile work environment harassment, and failure to prevent harassment. Clifton claims she was fired after complaining about racial disparities during a staff meeting and was chastised by executive director Hector Villagra who is known for criticizing city officials for taking meaningful action to end racist practices.

Clifton voiced concerns about being discriminated against in the workplace but she was consistently misconstrued and perceived as angry or aggressive by the organization’s management team members who are white. After being fired in February she was offered a $48,000 severance that required arbitration of disputes to silence her claims.

As claims of racial discrimination emerges through Black Lives Matter Clifton also alleges that the ACLU of Southern California has inserted themselves into black lives matter by filing a lawsuit against the City of Los Angeles for self-interest gain by stating that curfews violated the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution and that the restrictions on movement outside working hours violated the Constitution’s protection of freedom of movement.

If you feel that you have been wrongfully terminated, or you have been discriminated against because of your disability and would like to know your rights as an employee in the state of California, please contact the attorneys at the California Employment Legal Group today for a free consultation with an experienced employment lawyer.

San Diego Mother Discriminated, then Terminated for Kids making noise in the background during her Conference Calls

In mid-march an out-of-state insurance firm asked Drisana Rios to work from home and telecommute via conference calls as a response to COVID-19 lockdown orders. Rios attempted to resolve her workplace problem by speaking to a Human Resources representative about the conference calls held by her direct supervisor. Her male direct supervisor harassed her for the noise her kids were making in the background during conference calls.  Rios attempted to set up conference calls during her kids’ nap time but her direct supervisor would purposely ignored and demeaned her and overlap schedules.

After attempting to get help from HR on the harassment she was told that the company was experiencing “reduced revenue due to COVID-19 and they were laying people off as a result.” Rios believes this is retaliation because she was fired a week after calling HR. In addition, Rios has an email from the company’s regional boss stating that they would avoid layoffs during the pandemic.

This unlawful termination led to Rios filing a lawsuit against her direct supervisor and the Insurance Firm.  The lawsuit includes claims of Gender discrimination, Retaliation, Gender harassment, Failure to prevent gender discrimination, Negligent supervision, Intentional infliction of emotional distress, and Wrongful termination in violation of public policy. Rios is claiming that HR had taken the side of the abusive manager and tried to cover up the retaliation. In addition Rios claims that she was indeed shamed for having children which led to her escalating this issue to Human Resources but she was terminated shortly after for her complaint.

If you feel that you have been wrongfully terminated, or you have been discriminated against because of your disability and would like to know your rights as an employee in the state of California, please contact the attorneys at the California Employment Legal Group today for a free consultation with an experienced employment lawyer.

Patterson School District sued by former librarian for Wrongful Termination

A Patterson School District employee since 2014, Alexander Cardillo has alleged that he was wrongfully terminated. Cardillo has accused Monica Florez, principal and acting principle Ramona Serrano of Martin Luther King, Jr. School, of subjecting him to a pattern of harassment, abuse and hostility. The harassment included abuse and hostility and led to Cardillo seeking medical treatment in February 2019. The pattern of harassment started after December 2018 when Cardillo was given assignment to mentor a struggling student with the aid of the parent. Cardillo mentored the student who was having behavioral and academic problems. During this time Florez took a leave of absence.

After Florez went on leave, Ramona Serrano became acting principle and started to question the “mentor” assignment and claimed that there was no record of the assignment. Serrano then became hostile and stopped Cardillo from mentoring and meeting with the student. According to the lawsuit Serrano indicated that she confirmed the assignment because of the statement she made to Cardillo. When Florez came back from her leave of absence on March 2019, Cardillo claims that the harassment intensified and continued. On March 6, 2019 Jose Correa, director of instructional technology and library media services, came to the school for a pre-conference in relation to Cardillo’s upcoming evaluation. Cardillo alleges that Florez sat in the library “abusing” and “following” him when he accompanied students from library to a classroom.

Cardillo also claimed that on another occasion Florez berated and scolded him in front of his students after purchasing lunch for himself and the student he was mentoring. She told him she did not want him sitting with the students in the cafeteria. The constant harassment and hostility in the workplace led to Cardillo experiencing a panic attack while teaching and Cardillo began seeking medical treatment.

According to the lawsuit, after the medical treatment, Cardillo provided a doctor’s note to the school’s nurse and it was rejected by the district. The harassment continued. In April he began throwing up every morning before going to work and lost 20 pounds. Cardillo also damaged his esophagus as a result of a nervous cough. In May 2019 Cardillo complained to John McEntee, Jr., president of the teachers’ union. Following the complaint Cardillo received a reduction in force notice. The lawsuit is seeking fringe benefits, past and future salaries along with reinstatement.

If you feel that you have been wrongfully terminated, or you have been discriminated against because of your disability and would like to know your rights as an employee in the state of California, please contact the attorneys at the California Employment Legal Group today for a free consultation with an experienced employment lawyer.

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