It’s always unfortunate when the trust between an employer and employee is broken. We see it every day in our line of work, defending employees whose rights have been violated on the job. It’s doubly hard when an employer chooses to lash out against those who take legal action to protect their rights. The good news is this kind of retaliation is not legal and you are not without options to fight back.
We saw this recently, in Orange County, where the executive assistant of county supervisor Todd Spitzer is suing him for a second time, alleging defamation that followed a wrongful termination in 2016. According to The Orange County Register, the wrongful termination lawsuit was settled last year. Now, plaintiff says her former boss told reporters and other third parties her firing was the result of incompetence, rather than a wage and hour dispute. He further allegedly told these others she refused to take necessary computer classes and implied she could not complete basic computer tasks.
Plaintiff said not only were those statements false, but they are now hurting her ability to find new employment. This spurred the second filing in Superior Court of California, County of Orange. At the time these alleged statements were made, plaintiff says she had already completed several computer classes on her own accord. The lawsuit alleges she even requested an additional computer class, a request which Spitzer rejected shortly before letting her go. It’s worth noting plaintiff worked for the county supervisor for three years by the time of her firing. It would seem one would not survive long in that role absent basic computer knowledge.
The original lawsuit alleged wrongful termination of plaintiff after she requested to transfer to a new position. Plaintiff claimed she asked for the transfer per a doctor’s recommendation that she switch jobs to alleviate health issues she was experiencing due to stress at work. The lawsuit also accused Spitzer of enforcing unreasonable expectations on his staff to respond to text messages and be on standby any hour of the day, every day of the week, and being scheduled for shifts up to 24 hours long. Plaintiff claimed employees were not compensated for working these overtime hours, which would drive her hourly income below minimum wage, making employer in violation of the Fair Labor Standards Act. The former staffer also alleged Spitzer created an aggressive work environment with his temper.
Orange County was also included on the first lawsuit for allegedly not taking action when made aware of Spitzer’s behavior. Orange County and Spitzer settled with plaintiff for $150,000 in September of last year. But she said the effects of the case and the public press release have continued to haunt her as she has tried to move on with her life.
Cases like this are a perfect whirlwind of issues: retaliation against an employee for requesting a transfer due to health reasons, a wage and hour dispute, hostile work environment, defamation of character. Employees should never have to endure such treatment, and deserve skilled attorneys on their side.
Our trusted Orange County wrongful termination lawyers know how difficult an employment case can be, especially if a hostile employer continues to make your life difficult. That is why it is so important to have a team of knowledgable attorneys like ours on your side. We have the proven experience and deep understanding of the law you need to build a case. We also are familiar with all the ways employers might retaliate, such as firing, demotion, unfair disciplinary action, or salary reduction, and how to fight against further illegal attacks.
Contact the employment attorneys at Nassiri Law Group, practicing in Orange County, Riverside and Los Angeles. Call 949.375.4734.
Richters v. Spitzer, March 2, 2018, Superior Court of California, County of Orange
More Blog Entries:
Worker Gets Another Shot at Employer Retaliation Lawsuit, March 5, 2017, Orange County Employment Lawyers Blog