A West Hollywood Worker Sues for Wrongful Discharge

JusticeMichelle Rex claims she was fired in retaliation for her role as a witness into a colleague’s allegations of harassment and improper electioneering. However, a lawyer for the city said the woman and others in her position lost their jobs for business reasons.

According to West Hollywood Patch, the lawyers made their pitches to a Los Angeles Superior Court jury hearing opening statements in trial of Michelle Rex’s lawsuit against the city of West Hollywood. She says she worked as a deputy to Councilman John D’Amico from March 2011 until she was fired in January 2016. She filed the lawsuit two months later, alleging wrongful discharge, retaliation and failure to prevent retaliation.

D’Amico and the council majority voted to eliminate Rex’s position and that of Ian Owens, a deputy to Councilman John Duran. According to Rex’s lawyer, Mark Quigley, Rex was a witness in the probe into allegations by Owens that he was harassed by his boss.

Owens also alleged improper solicitation and electioneering by Councilman John Heilman’s deputy, her suit states.

The Wage Theft Problem in California

No Money A new report by Economic Policy Institute shows that low-wage workers in California lose nearly $2 billion a year to minimum wage violations committed by their employers. That’s about about $64 a week, $3,400 yearly and 22% percent of their earnings!

As mentioned in Daily News, minimum wage violations hurt low-wage workers in every demographic category, but the institute’s report found that young people, women, people of color and immigrant workers are disproportionately impacted by these violations, as they are more likely to work in low-wage jobs. If the study — which covers more than 50 percent of the U.S. workforce — is representative of the country as a whole, the authors estimate that American workers are being cheated out of more than $15 billion a year.

Six organizations have joined forces to combat wage theft in the workplace, according to Daily News. They’ve formed a statewide collaborative called Make Work Pay, which will focus heavily on wage theft in California, since it’s the most populous state in the U.S. Members of the collaborative include the Center on Policy Initiatives, East Bay Alliance for a Sustainable Economy, National Employment Law Project, Southern California Coalition for Occupational Safety and Health, Working Partnerships USA and Worksafe.

Their goal is to build on California’s legislative wins that raise wages and strengthen labor standards enforcement.

Trump Donor Robert Mercer Sued by Employee for Wrongful Discharge

DismissedFormer research scientist at Renaissance Technologies, David Magerman has filed a lawsuit against one of President Trump’s top financial supporters, Robert Mercer for wrongful discharge.

The complaint filed in federal court in Philadelphia, Magerman claims Mercer violated his civil rights for terminating him for exercising his right to free speech to criticize “what he believes are hateful statements and policies from President Trump and Mercer’s support thereof.”

“Mercer’s conduct is an outrageous attempt to deny Magerman his constitutional and federal statutory rights,” the complaint says. “Mercer’s decision to suspend and subsequently fire Magerman violates a clear mandate of public policy against forced political speech and conditioning employment on political subordination.”

According to Forbes, Magerman claims in his complaint that earlier this year he reported one troubling conversation he had with Mercer to Renaissance co-CEO Peter Brown. Before speaking publicly, Magerman says he wrote a memorandum to several Renaissance employees and was told verbally by Renaissance’s Chief Compliance Officer Mark Silber that the comments Magerman intended to make were permissible under company policy.

Former Mortuary Worker Files Lawsuit Over ‘Mental Anguish’ at Work

You're FiredFormer employee, Jeremy Glen Hoes has filed a lawsuit against Accucare Mortuary Services for wrongful termination after claiming he suffered post-traumatic stress following his handling of the bodies of a mother and 3-month-old son who were brutally killed.

Hoes said he was fired for threatening to file a workers compensation claim after performing work on Shanna Riddle Vandewege and her 3-month old son, Diederick. Her husband, Craig, has been charged with capital murder.

According to Hoes’ attorney, Robert Goodman, and court records, Hoes worked at Accucare for at least three years, and suffered a “post-traumatic stress reaction” after working on the bodies on Dec. 16.  He was also injured after handling the body of a man in November who committed suicide by ingesting paint fumes.
As mentioned in Star Telegram, Hoes said he told his employers that he planned on filing workers compensation claims from the two cases, but was told not to because the amount of premiums and exposure associated with such coverage were unreasonable and that they would pay for his medical expenses, records show.

Hoes said he was fired in January, two days after he said he planned on filing the claims. He was told that his services were no longer needed, the lawsuit states.

Diddy Sued for Sexual Harassment by Former Chef

DismissedSean (Diddy) Combs is being sued for allegedly making his personal chef, Cindy Rueda serve him up post-sex meals.

Rueda claims she was hired to be a weekend chef for Combs in January of 2015. In September of 2015, she began working for Diddy full-time and often traveled with Diddy.

As described in NY Daily News, Cindy Rueda, alleges she was required to cook for Combs during or immediately after sexual activity and that he would make comments to her about his naked body, according to a complaint filed Monday.

The personal chef then states in the suit that she was set up to look like she stole one of Diddy’s watches after complaining about the treatment she received and was asked to sign a waiver stating that she wouldn’t make any claims against Diddy in the future, which she refused to sign and was ultimately fired.

Reuda is suing for wrongful termination, sexual harassment, and violation of whistleblower protection.


Former BET Executive Claims “Misogynistic Culture” in Discrimination Lawsuit

Business Woman Getting FiredFormer head of original programming Zola Mashariki, has filed a wrongful termination lawsuit against the Viacom cabler, alleging managers fostered a hostile work environment that included retaliation when she complained to human resources and was fired while on medical leave for breast cancer.

As described by LA Times, the lawsuit, filed in California federal court, targets BET, Viacom and former BET president of programming Stephen Hill, alleging gender discrimination, defamation, violation of the Family Medical Leave Act and more.

“The Company fosters a good old boys’ club atmosphere and mentality that are hostile to women and their advancement,” the complaint alleges. “This misogynistic culture, which marginalizes, demeans and undervalues women, begins at the top of the corporate structure.”

According to the lawsuit, the company “questioned the validity of her diagnosis, prevented members of her team from contacting her and deliberately damaged her reputation.” Further, a senior executive at BET even suggested to Mashariki’s colleagues that she was “faking” her breast cancer, the suit alleges.

Tomi Lahren settles lawsuit against Glenn Beck and The Blaze

Shake HandsConservative commentator, Tomi Lahren has agreed to a settlement that ends her lawsuit against Glenn Beck and The Blaze.

The lawsuit filed in Texas, had alleged that Beck and The Blaze had wrongfully terminated Lahren and cancelled her nightly talk show because of her pro-choice comments on “The View.”

As mentioned in USA Today, under the settlement, Lahren is formally released from her contract with The Blaze and will be allowed to keep the Facebook page connected to her time as a pundit for the company, which has nearly 4.3 million followers. She will return all of “intellectual property” belonging to The Blaze that was posted on the Facebook page.

“Ms. Lahren is relieved to have this litigation behind her and she looks forward to connecting with her audience and fan base on the pressing political issues facing our country in the days to come,” said Lahren’s attorney, Brian Lauten.

“The Blaze is pleased to announce that the relationship with Tomi Lahren has concluded. Ms. Lahren will continue to have access to her social media accounts as has always been the case,” the company said in a statement.

Immigrant Workers Claim Wrongful Termination When Fired for Skipping Work To Protest

FiredBack in February, thousands of immigrant workers in the United States took part in the “Day Without Immigrants” rally, protesting President Trump’s policies on immigration. Many skipped work without letting their bosses know.

As described in the Washington Examiner, Detroit area auto parts maker, EZ Industrial Solutions LLC, fired more than 20 immigrants after their participation in the protest. Now, these former employees of the auto parts maker are claiming they were wrongfully terminated, even though they received a warning from management about repercussions for missing work without permission.

They’re now taking their case to federal labor regulators.

In the complaint, the immigrant workers allege that, “The employer coercively questioned employees” twice regarding their plans to attend the rallies. The company has defended its actions by stating that employees are aware of rules against participating in political protests that aren’t work related during their work day.


Court Says Profanity is OK During Unionization Fights

An employee fired by Pier Sixty in New York for calling his boss a “nasty mother f*cker” in a Facebook. The Second Circuit Court of Appeals found that the employee should not have been fired for his post. As Market Place mentions, the reason for this is that the comment was made during a time when the employees were trying to unionize, and the profanity-filled post ended with an encouragement for employees to support the union.

After the employee, Hernan Perez was terminated, he filed a claim with the National Labor Relations Board stating that he was terminated in retaliation for “protected concerted activities.” Under the National Labor Relations Act, employees cannot be fired for union activity, which includes criticism of the employer and workplace policies.

“Perez’s conduct sits at the outer‐bounds of protected, union‐-related comments,” the court wrote in its ruling.

If you feel you have been wrongfully discharged from your job in retaliation for exercising a legal workplace right, call the California Employment Legal Group for aggressive legal representation.


Sealy to Pay $175K to Settle “Severe Racial Harassment” Charge

Equal Employment OpportunitySealy, a mattress and box spring factory in St. Paul, Minnesota, will pay $175,000 to settle a charge of “severe racial harassment,” according to the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.

The federal agency said Sealy subjected black and Hispanic employees to harassment that involved a noose, Ku Klux Klan hood, and racist epithets and jokes.

As mentioned in Twin Cities, the agency also found that the company discriminated against black and Hispanic employees in the selection of lead positions at the St. Paul facility and violated the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

Going forward, Sealy has committed to provide their employees with anti-discrimination training, revise and disseminate an anti-harassment policy, implement a more objective application process for lead jobs, and require compliance with Equal Employment Opportunity laws as part performance evaluations of supervisors, the EEOC said.

“We are pleased that Sealy worked cooperatively with us to fashion an anti-harassment policy that will better address employee complaints,” Julianne Bowman, EEOC Chicago district director, said in a statement.

If you have been victimized by your employer, contact us today for a consultation with an experienced CA employment lawyer who will clearly explain your rights and options under the law.