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Wrongful termination after reporting illegal practices

One of the most common forms of workplace retaliation is termination. A California employee may be fired unjustly after refusing the sexual advances of a supervisor or for reporting illegal activity witnessed in the workplace. It is often difficult to prove because the employer may find ways to justify the firing, including accusing the victim of poor work performance. In another state, a complaint of wrongful termination recently ended with an out-of-court settlement.

The victim was hired to be the deputy coroner, but he alleged that the county coroner frequently asked him to assist with work in the coroner's private mortuary business. Since this constituted theft of taxpayer dollars, the deputy reported the violation to the county. Instead of resolving the issue with the coroner, the county placed the deputy on administrative leave and eventually fired him.

In his lawsuit, the deputy coroner asked for lost wages, financial remuneration for relocating and future employment searches, as well as damages for injuries. In response, the county agreed with the timeline for employment that the deputy submitted. However, the county said the man was fired because he did not do the work for which he was hired. The county also explained that it had decided to eliminate the position of deputy coroner for the rest of the fiscal year.

The lawsuit was settled under apparently agreeable terms that have not been disclosed. Those in California who face the frustration of wrongful termination after refusing to violate the law or misuse the public trust can take similar action. The help of an experienced attorney can prove beneficial to obtaining a positive resolution.

Source:, "County wrongful-termination suit settled out of court", Joshua Murdock, Feb. 9, 2018

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