Articles Tagged with wrongful termination

Recently – and not for the first time – Tesla has fired a large number of workers. In both its automotive branch and solar panel subsidiary, hundreds of Tesla employees were let go in what has been described as a “pink slip rampage.” Now, former employees are taking the company to task for its claims of unsatisfactory performance, which Tesla claimed was the basis for firing twelve hundred employees worldwide.California unemployment lawyers

What is Really Going on at Tesla?

According to Slate, there is a conflict between the company’s claims of unsatisfactory performance and employees’ claims that they were not privy to any performance reviews. Employees are claiming that the firings were actually mass layoffs, and that the company violated their rights under the WARN Act (California Labor Code Division 2, Part 4, Sections 1400-1408). Under the WARN Act, employers must give sixty days’ written notice of mass layoffs. The notice must be provided to both affected employees and local employment authorities. Tesla, in turn, claims that the positions will be backfilled, and the firings cannot, therefore, be layoffs. (Interestingly, Tesla did provide WARN notices to over two hundred employees at its Roseville, California worksite.) Tesla is facing other circumstances that call into question the timing of the terminations. It is currently experiencing significant delays in the release of its Model 3. Tesla is also in the midst of a merger with its solar panel subsidiary, Solar City, which investors approved in November 2016. Both of these conditions are likely to leave Tesla lacking in liquid assets for a time. Lawsuits have already been filed by terminated employees. It is now up to the California courts to determine the nature of the Tesla layoffs. Continue reading

Wrongful termination is a common claim by former employees, and a common source of liability for employers. Yet the specific circumstances in which wrongful termination laws apply can be confusing at best. Recently, the California Court of Appeals decided that an employer neither violated disability discrimination laws, nor otherwise wrongfully terminated an employee who sought to withdraw her voluntary resignation.wrongful termination attonreys

The San Diego Union-Tribune reports that Ruth Featherstone was an employee of Southern California Permanente Medical Group when she returned from a medical leave of absence on December 16, 2013. On December 23, Featherstone resigned, telling her supervisor that “God had told her to do something else”. On December 31, Featherstone asked to rescind her resignation, claiming that she had been under the effects of medication at the time it was tendered. The employer declined.

Featherstone’s lawsuit against the medical group centered on California disability law, which protects an employee from any “adverse employment action” as a result of a disability. The Court ruled that Featherstone had the right to rescind her resignation until Permanente employees processed it. Once accepted, however, Permanente was under no obligation to allow her to rescind the resignation. Permanente was also under no continuing duty to accommodate Featherstone’s disability and purportedly altered mental state once it accepted her resignation. Continue reading

The Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) is a federal statute intended to enable workers who need to take leave for legitimate personal and family needs and medical reasons to do so without retribution. A company that retaliates against a worker for using these guaranteed safety net can be held liable in court and ordered to pay damages to the worker. airline

In the case of Sharif v. United Airlines, Inc., a plaintiff argued this was exactly what happened to him. However, the employer argued the worker had fraudulently taken FMLA leave in order to extend his vacation and further that he made dishonest representations when the company launched an investigation of it.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit ultimately sided with the employer, finding the worker had not established a triable issue of fact that the airline truly fired him for taking leave, rather than fraudulently taking leave and then lying about it.  Continue reading

A former high school football coach in Southern California who was wrongly terminated for blowing the whistle on a sexual hazing scandal at a Catholic school will receive nearly $5 million in damages. coach1

Jurors decided with the coach in his lawsuit and awarded him $900,000 in compensatory damages, and gave authorization for punitive damages. Jurors were set to debate how much those damages should be when the diocese offered $4 million to settle those claims.

The coach alleged he was wrongfully fired, retaliated against and then defamed after he reported hazing at the high school in December 2012.