Law Offices of Louis Spitters

Ex police worker wins wrongful termination claim for $725K

Many employees believe in doing what is right and move to report questionable activity by their superiors without fear of retaliation. Unfortunately, some employers fire workers who speak up in an effort to keep any claimed unlawful conduct quiet and/or in retaliation for prior acts. A California woman who worked for the San Francisco Police Department asserts that she was the victim of a wrongful termination after reporting an incident that appears to have violated department policy.

The plaintiff was working in internal affairs when she noted how the then deputy chief handled a domestic violence call. Reportedly, a friend of the deputy chief called and complained that her boyfriend had physically abused her. He is aid to have told her to file a formal complaint, but the boyfriend was never arrested. The plaintiff alleged that the deputy chief violated policy, and she recommended that the Police Commission fire him.

The deputy chief was demoted to captain but was then later promoted to chief. Once he was in his position as chief, he apparently fired the plaintiff and her supervisor within the first two weeks. He claims that the reason for the firings was to reduce labor costs.

The plaintiff filed a lawsuit, asserting that she was fired because she had reported the deputy chief for not handling the domestic violence situation properly. Just before the employment law claim was to be tried in a California civil court, a settlement of  $725,000 was reached for her wrongful termination claim. A spokesperson for the city said that the decision was made to settle out of court after it was realized that other employees who were let go for budgetary reasons were given the opportunity to work longer so that they could receive better retirement benefits. The plaintiff was not afforded the ability to do so, though the chief claims that he would have allowed her the same opportunity had he known it was an issue.

Source:, "SFPD to pay $725K to settle wrongful termination suit", April 24, 2015

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