Adishian Law Group, P.C. founder and California Attorney Chris Adishian answers the question: “Are perceived whistleblowers protected under California law?”

Transcript

Under the California Whistleblower Statute 1102.5, actual whistleblowers, people who actually blew the whistle, are protected, and so are perceived whistleblowers. For example, if management believes that an employee blew the whistle on some violation, but the employee actually did not, and they mistakenly fired the employee because they believed the employee had made the report, that employee has protection under the Retaliation Statute under the Whistleblower Statute.

Adishian Law Group, P.C. founder and California Attorney Chris Adishian explains the recent change in California’s Whistleblower Statute, California Labor Code 1102.5.

Transcript

As of January 1st, 2014, there was a significant change in the California Whistleblower Statute which is California Labor Code 1102.5, and the real significant change is it changed the definition of who is a whistleblower, and entitled to protection. Prior to January 1st, 2014, in order to be a whistleblower under the statute, you had to make a disclosure of a violation or alleged violation to a government agency or a law enforcement agency. But after January 1st, 2014, the whistleblower can be entitled to protection. The employee only needs to make the disclosure to his manager or someone with authority at the company for investigating alleged violations.

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62 Year Old, African-American Former Branch Manager Files Racial Discrimination Lawsuit Against Terminix, a Subsidiary of ServiceMaster:  Suit Highlights Wrongful Termination, Age Discrimination, Race Discrimination, Failure to Prevent Discrimination, Retaliation, Intentional Infliction of Emotional Distress, Negligent Infliction of Emotional Distress and Statutory Unfair Competition

EL SEGUNDO, CA (September 9, 2017) — Ernest “E.J.” Walker, a 62 year old African American, filed suit this month in San Francisco Superior Court against Terminex International Company L.P. (Terminex) and ServiceMaster Global Holdings, Inc. (“ServiceMaster”), ticker symbol “SERV”, a publicly traded Fortune 1000 company that provides residential and commercial services. The suit accuses Terminex and ServiceMaster of wrongful termination, age discrimination, race discrimination, failure to prevent discrimination, retaliation, intentional infliction of emotional distress, negligent infliction of emotional distress and statutory unfair competition.

According to the suit, Ernest was a loyal employee of Terminex for over twelve years.  Prior to his alleged wrongful termination, he had performed exceptionally well, leading the company’s “largest branch in the western division” (Alameda, Contra Costa, San Francisco, San Mateo and Santa Clara) to “record revenue and profits”. When his supervisor left, E.J indicated his interest in the job.  Instead of being considered for the promotion, Terminix told him that he would not be considered “based on his performance”, and Terminix hired a white male.  Shortly thereafter the new white supervisor inexplicably gave him a “written warning” and thereafter his new white supervisor put him on a “a performance improvement plan claiming E.J. was not meeting expectations”.

Ernest “refused to sign the performance improvement plan” and ultimately “filed an ethics complaint” against his new supervisor.  Yet, “[t]he same people who gave E.J. his performance review, were tasked with investigating the review”.  Terminix placed him on a second performance improvement plan, and followed that with a termination for alleged “performance deficiencies”.

The lawsuit, filed in San Francisco County Superior Court, seeks damages for lost wages, special damages including loss of income and benefits and medical expenses, interest, punitive damages, and attorneys’ fees and costs. Terminix has since removed the case to the United States Federal District Court, Northern District of California.  Click here for a copy of the Complaint.

“We’re eager to commence discovery to determine why Terminix failed to consider an apparently exemplary employee for promotion.  We’re interested to discover whether our the Company’s stated reasons for termination are legitimate and non-discriminatory, or merely a pretext for unlawful age-based, race-based discrimination and retaliation.  We are also curious to learn what actions, if any, that the company took, once it was on notice of E.J. complaints.” says Chris Adishian.

About Adishian Law Group, P.C.

About Adishian Law Group, P.C. Adishian Law Group (http://www.AdishianLaw.com) is a California law firm with a statewide practice in the areas of Corporate law, Employment law, Real Estate law and Mediation Services.   As of December 2016, the firm has represented corporate and individual clients located across 22 California counties, 13 States outside of California and 10 foreign countries in over 520 legal matters. Adishianlaw.com is one of the oldest continually operating law firm websites on the Internet. The firm serves its clientele via three offices located in the major business hubs of El Segundo, Palo Alto and San Francisco.

For more information about this case, contact Chris Adishian:

Telephone: 310.726.0888 | 650.646.4022 | 415.955.0888
Email: askalg@adishianlaw.com
Social Media: @adishianlaw | LinkedIn | Facebook | YouTube

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Female Former Director of Client Solutions Sues Digilant:  Suit Highlights Disability Discrimination, Failure to Provide Accommodation, Failure to Engage in an Interactive Process, Failure to Prevent Discrimination, Retaliation, Wrongful Discharge in Violation of Public Policy and Unfair Competition. 

EL SEGUNDO, CA (August 20, 2017) — Samira Judeh filed suit this month in San Francisco Superior Court against Digilant, Inc. (Digilant), a marketing technology company that assists in programmatic media buying. The suit accuses Digilant and its employees of disability discrimination, failure to provide accommodation, failure to engage in an interactive process, failure to prevent discrimination, retaliation, wrongful discharge in violation of public policy and unfair competition.

According to the Complaint, soon after learning that Samira would have to be out of the office for doctor’s appointments on a recurring basis, “Chris Cooper, Digilant’s Vice President of Sales at Digilant began harassing Samira.  He was demanding, belligerent and made sarcastic comments to Samira.”    Samira informed the Chief Operating Officer that Cooper was “harassing her.”.  Nothing was done.  Soon thereafter, Samira heard Cooper tell Digilant’s Director of Sales Accounts, “I don’t give a shit what she has going on medically. She’ s a bitch!”

In early May, Samira informed Digilant’s Chief Operating Officer him that she had “been diagnosed with a medical condition and that she would need to go to more doctor’s appointments.”  Approximately three weeks later, Digilant terminated her, allegedly for the reason that there was a reduction in work force.

The lawsuit seeks damages for lost wages (front and back pay), benefits and career opportunities, special damages, punitive damages, interest and attorneys’ fees and costs.  Digilant has since removed the case to the United States Federal District Court, Northern District of California.  Click here for a copy of the Complaint.

“We’re eager to commence discovery to determine what actions, if any, Digilant took once it was on notice of Samira’s medical condition to engage in a good faith interactive process with her or to provide an accommodation.  We also interested to learn what steps the Company took to prevent discrimination against Samira and whether or not the Company retaliated against Samira.” says Chris Adishian.

About Adishian Law Group, P.C.

  Law Group (http://www.AdishianLaw.com) is a California law firm with a statewide practice in the areas of Corporate law, Employment law, Real Estate law and Mediation Services.   As of December 2016, the firm has represented corporate and individual clients located across 22 California counties, 13 States outside of California and 10 foreign countries in over 520 legal matters. Adishianlaw.com is one of the oldest continually operating law firm websites on the Internet. The firm serves its clientele via three offices located in the major business hubs of El Segundo, Palo Alto and San Francisco.

For more information about this case, contact Chris Adishian:

Telephone: 310.726.0888 | 650.646.4022 | 415.955.0888
Email: askalg@adishianlaw.com
Social Media: @adishianlaw | LinkedIn | Facebook | YouTube

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Puerto Rican American sues TIAA-CREF:  Suit Highlights Wrongful Termination, Race Discrimination, National Origin Discrimination, Harassment, Failure to Prevent Harassment, Retaliation, Retaliatory Discharge, Statutory Unfair Competition, Intentional Infliction of Emotional Distress and Negligent Infliction of Emotional Distress at one of largest financial services firms in United States

EL SEGUNDO, CA (June 17, 2016) — Rafael Rivera Luciano, a Puerto Rican American, filed suit this month in San Francisco Superior Court against Teachers Insurance and Annuity Association of America (TIAA-CREF), one of the largest financial institutions in America, which traces its roots to Andrew Carnegie. The suit accuses TIAA-CREF of wrongful termination, race discrimination, national origin discrimination, harassment, failure to prevent harassment, retaliation, retaliatory discharge, statutory unfair competition, intentional infliction of emotional distress and negligent infliction of emotional distress.

According to the suit, the discrimination commenced shortly after Rafael began his employment with TIAA-CREF.  Rafael was employed on the California’s 529 college savings plan (“ScholarShare”).  In this position, the Complaint alleges that his former supervisor subjected him to pervasive and ongoing harassment, abusive conduct and racist slurs.  According to the Complaint, his supervisor “referred to Rafael as “McFly”, a demeaning term meant to insult one’s intelligence if the connection is made to the movie “Back to the Future”.   This same supervisor “threatened to “send [Rafael] back to Mexico” if Rafael did not open more accounts in his San Diego territory.”  When Rafael properly complained he was told that “Ralph can be a bit rough on the edges”.

Per the Complaint Rafael’s supervisor was finally terminated.  Almost simultaneously, Rafael received a written warning, stating that he was being disciplined for “failing to conduct [himself] in a manner that is consistent with TIAA’s values.” Rafael responded by requesting specific instances of when his “values” fell short. He never got a response.  He was terminated about 15 months later.

“Rafael’s proper complaints to management were ignored, and he was terminated.  We look forward to commencing discovery to determine whether the stated reasons for Rafael’s termination were simply a pretext for unlawful and wrongful conduct.  We’re interested to learn if one the State of California prime vendors is violating California statute, case law and public policy while profiting from its citizens.” stated Chris Adishian, attorney at Adishian Law Group, P.C. and one of the lawyers representing Rafael.  “We look forward to shedding light on the facts of this case.”

The lawsuit, filed in San Francisco County Superior Court, seeks damages for lost wages, benefits and career opportunities, emotional distress, special damages, punitive damages, and attorneys’ fees and costs. Click here for a copy of the Complaint.

About Adishian Law Group, P.C.

   Adishian Law Group (http://www.AdishianLaw.com) is a California law firm with a statewide practice in the areas of Corporate law, Employment law, Real Estate law and Mediation Services. As of November 2015, the firm has represented corporate and individual clients located across 22 California counties, 13 States outside of California and 9 foreign countries in over 480 legal matters.  Adishianlaw.com is one of the oldest continually operating law firm websites on the Internet.  The firm serves its clientele via three offices located in the major business hubs of El Segundo, Palo Alto and San Francisco.

For more information about this case, contact Chris Adishian:

Telephone: 310.726.0888 | 650.646.4022 | 415.955.0888
Email: askalg@adishianlaw.com
Social Media: @adishianlaw | LinkedIn | Facebook | YouTube

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Former President Sues Keystone Engineering Company, KE Company Acquisition Corp., Cornerstone Capital Holdings, LLC and Oasis Outsourcing, Inc.: Suit Highlights Retaliation; FEHA Retaliation, Gender Discrimination; Age Discrimination, Sexual Orientation Discrimination, Failure to Prevent Discrimination, Wrongful Termination, Unfair Competition, Breach of Fiduciary Duty of Majority Shareholders and Accounting.

EL SEGUNDO, CA (February 23, 2016) Jamie Vitalich, an accomplished female aerospace industry executive recently filed suit in Los Angeles Superior Court against Keystone Engineering Company, KE Company Acquisition Corp., Cornerstone Capital Holdings, LLC and Oasis Outsourcing, Inc. The suit accuses defendants of whistleblower retaliation, FEHA retaliation, gender discrimination, age discrimination, sexual orientation discrimination, failure to prevent discrimination, wrongful termination, unfair competition, breach of fiduciary duty of majority shareholders, and demands an accounting.

According to the Complaint, the decision makers for the company stated that the Company ”would gain more business with a male President,” and shortly thereafter re-assigned Jamie, marginalized her, demoted her .and promoted a male to President, Ian Ballinger, who then terminated Jamie.

Defendants originally recruited and hired Jamie in 2013. The Complaint goes on to allege that her tenure as President “was marked with achievements , which included: coordinating the implementation of independent IT, HR, quality management and operational finance systems; overseeing the divestiture of the Ontario facility for $7.5 million; and facilitating a company profit that reduced Keystone’s longstanding debt to $1 million.” Prior to her termination Jamie questioned “why Keystone was paying ….a Cornerstone employee…more than 50% of her salary.” The Complaint also alleges that prior to her termination, she questioned “a discrepancy of roughly $300,000 in the statement of the company’s profits between the set of books used to determine the employees’ 2014 profit-sharing and the set of books audited by a third-party auditor.” The Complaint further alleges, that contrary to the stated belief that the Company “would gain more business with a male President”, “with Ballinger at the helm, Keystone’s profits had plunged. Jamie, irrespective of retaining the title of COO, was systematically excluded from meetings vital to the proposal process, including customer proposals and visits, and was, instead, assigned menial, demeaning duties by Bushell and Ballinger.” The Complaint goes on to allege that the “campaign to oust Jamie from Keystone so the ‘face’ of the company would be a man culminated in the pretextual elimination of her COO position and her ….termination…”

“The actions as alleged in the Complaint highlight the destructive impact of illegal discrimination. The case also touches on current themes of discrimination in the world of private equity, venture capital and their portfolio companies (e.g., Tinder lawsuit) and the emerging area of law finding joint employer relationships. We’re eager to commence discovery to determine whether Defendants’ stated rationale was merely a pre-text to cover up a wrongful termination.” says Chris Adishian.

The lawsuit seeks damages for lost wages, benefits and career opportunities, special damages, punitive damages, interest, and attorneys’ fees and costs and an accounting. Click here to read a copy of the Complaint.

About Adishian Law Group, P.C. Adishian Law Group (http://www.AdishianLaw.com) is a California law firm with a statewide practice in the areas of Corporate law, Employment law, Real Estate law and Mediation Services. As of November 2015, the firm has represented corporate and individual clients located across 22 California counties, 13 States outside of California and 9 foreign countries in over 480 legal matters. Adishianlaw.com is one of the oldest continually operating law firm websites on the Internet. The firm serves its clientele via three offices located in the major business hubs of El Segundo, Palo Alto and San Francisco.

For more information about this case, contact Chris Adishian:

Telephone: 310.726.0888 | 650.646.4022 | 415.955.0888
Email: askalg@adishianlaw.com
Social Media: @algpc | LinkedIn | Facebook | YouTube

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69 year old, Decorated U.S. Army Colonel (Ret.) Sues Cubic Corporation and Related Entities:  Suit Highlights Retaliatory Discharge; FEHA Retaliation, Age Discrimination, Harassment, Failure to Prevent Discrimination and Wrongful Termination.

EL SEGUNDO, CA (February 22, 2016) William V. Wenger, a 69 year old male, and Colonel, U.S. Army (Ret.) recently filed suit in Los Angeles Superior Court against Cubic Corporation and Related Entities.  The suit accuses defendants of whistleblower retaliation, FEHA retaliation, age discrimination,  harassment, failure to prevent discrimination and wrongful termination.

According to the Complaint, during his distinguished 45 plus year career in the military Col. William V. Wenger (Ret.)  received multiple decorations including 3 Bronze Stars, and was a nationally recognized military expert having graduated and taught at the prestigious Army War College.

Cubic hired Bill to join the staff at the Georgian Armed Forces  Command.  The Complaint goes on to allege that “no employee….had more Joint Service experience in uniform…., more higher-level command time or year in command nor more military and civilian education than Bill.”  It goes on to allege that he received “2-1/2 years of exemplary teaching reviews” before being told by a younger male supervisor that a “perception had…developed…that Bill suddenly….was not sufficiently knowledgeable in the subject matter.”  The Complaint goes on to Bill properly lodged a “formal written complaint with Bill Craven (“Craven”), CUBIC’s Program Manager….on CUBIC’s ‘Employee Complaint Notice’ form”, yet no action was taken.  The Complaint alleges that Bill subsequently “additionally lodged specific complaints about CUBIC’s C&GSC program…which directly violated specific requirements of the Statement of Work as enumerated in CUBIC’s C&GSC contract W91 CRB-14-C-0020-CGSC with the U.S. government.”  As alleged in the Complaint, a few short weeks later he was terminated.

“In many ways, Col. William V. Wenger (Ret.) embodies those Americans who have served their country honorably, with distinction and most humbly.  We’re eager to commence discovery to determine whether Col. Wenger (Ret.) truly was not “sufficiently knowledgeable” or if Defendants’ stated rationale was merely a pre-text to cover up a wrongful termination based upon his age and/or in retaliation for his proper complaints her lodged regarding Cubic’s conduct, including but not limited to its alleged non-compliance with U.S. government contracts” says Chris Adishian.

The lawsuit seeks damages for lost wages, benefits and career opportunities, special damages, punitive damages, interest, and attorneys’ fees and costs.   Click here to read a copy of the Complaint.

About Adishian Law Group, P.C. 

Adishian Law Group (http://www.AdishianLaw.com) is a California law firm with a statewide practice in the areas of Corporate law, Employment law, Real Estate law and Mediation Services. As of November 2015, the firm has represented corporate and individual clients located across 22 California counties, 13 States outside of California and 9 foreign countries in over 480 legal matters.  Adishianlaw.com is one of the oldest continually operating law firm websites on the Internet.  The firm serves its clientele via three offices located in the major business hubs of El Segundo, Palo Alto and San Francisco.

For more information about this case, contact Chris Adishian:

Telephone: 310.726.0888 | 650.646.4022 | 415.955.0888
Email: askalg@adishianlaw.com
Social Media: @adishianlawLinkedIn | Facebook | YouTube

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Former Senior Director Sues Burr Pilger Mayer, Inc. (BPM):  Suit Highlights Retaliation, Gender Discrimination, and Failure to Pay Wages at the “largest California-based accounting and consulting firm”

EL SEGUNDO, CA (October 10, 2014)— Sandy Holder, one of the top professional service business development executives in Northern California, recently filed a lawsuit against Burr Pilger Mayer, Inc. (BPM), where she previously held the position of Senior Director, Business Development, with a focus on the SEC practice, which BPM’s website claims is “one of the largest in the U.S.”

Sandy came to BPM with an established track record of rapidly growing client bases and revenue for her employers – having held senior positions at PwC and Grant Thornton.  According to the lawsuit, just five months after Sandy joined BPM, BPM attempted to materially alter Sandy’s commission structure by seeking to (1) delay the payment date for her bonus and (2) change the payment from lump sum to being spread out over a number of months.  Less than a year later, when her first full year bonus was due, BPM’s CEO, Curtis Burr, stated that rather than pay her according to her contract, the “firm wanted to pay her something that they thought was fair.”

The suit further alleges that Sandy was subject to intimidating, threatening, condescending, and dismissive conduct from BPM’s Chairman of the Board, Richard Bellucci, who ultimately retaliatorily terminated her.  According to the Complaint after a successful “CFO Wine and Dine” event hosted by Sandy on behalf of the firm, Mr. Bellucci attempted to appropriate an unopened $2,500 case of wine to take home with him.  As the wine was property of the firm, and its shareholders, Sandy objected to Bellucci’s demand.  Less than two weeks later, BPM terminated Sandy because she was allegedly not a “good fit” for the SEC Group, which is led by firm Chairman Rich Bellucci.

“While BPM’s website outwardly touts values like “Integrity” and “Respect”, the firm’s conduct as alleged in the Complaint not only lacks integrity and respect for female employees, but also lacks respect for California law and California public policy,” said  Chris Adishian, attorney at Adishian Law Group, P.C. and one of the lawyers representing Sandy.

The lawsuit, filed in San Francisco County Superior Court, seeks damages for lost wages, benefits and career opportunities, emotional distress, special damages, punitive damages, and attorneys’ fees and costs. Click here for a copy of the Complaint.

About Adishian Law Group, P.C.

Adishian Law Group (http://www.AdishianLaw.com) is a California law firm with a statewide practice in the areas of Corporate law, Employment law, Real Estate law and Mediation Services. As of June 2014, the firm has represented corporate and individual clients located across 20 California counties, 7 States outside of California and 9 foreign countries in over 380 legal matters.  Adishianlaw.com is one of the oldest continually operating law firm websites on the Internet.  The firm serves its clientele via three offices located in the major business hubs of El Segundo, Palo Alto and San Francisco.

For more information about this press release, contact Chris Adishian:

Telephone: 310.726.0888 | 650.646.4022 | 415.955.0888
Email: askalg@adishianlaw.com
Social Media: @algpc  | LinkedIn | Facebook | YouTube