Manager wins wrongful termination suit in California appeals

A man has filed a lawsuit against his former employer. The man previously worked as an Operations Manager for a California company, Collateral Specialists Inc. The company was sued for wrongful termination after he reportedly unraveled some of the company's dealings.

Upon being hired, the man was required to sign a confidentiality agreement. During his course of employment, he informed his managers that he felt uneasy about how certain independent contractors were classified and recommended that their status should be changed to regular employees. However, the company disagreed. Eventually, the man went to his managers again, and this time he requested that they become more acquainted with laws and their legal standing. A short time later, he was terminated from his position.

The company claims that the reason for his termination was due to violation of the confidentiality agreement. The employee apparently emailed work-related confidential information from his personal email account. A lawsuit was filed, stating wrongful termination, and in turn, the company filed a motion for summary judgment. The court granted the judgment, but the worker filed an appeal. The appeals court overturned the original judgment.

The court of appeals agreed with the worker that this, in fact, was wrongful termination. This came about after further review into the matter of the employee being terminated a short time later after he blew the whistle on certain work activities. In cases like these, a California courtroom generally rules in favor of the plaintiff if evidence proves the employer acted in retaliation and the employee was performing a protected action.

Source: The National Law Review, Timing Significant in Wrongful Termination, Retaliation Case, California Court Finds, Mitchell F. Boomer, Jan. 3, 2014

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