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Woman wins $555,000 after suffering adverse employment actions

It is not always an easy choice for workers to speak up about situations that could be considered unethical. When California employees blow the whistle on their co-workers or superiors, they should not be subjected to retaliation. A woman who worked for the Hacienda La Puente Unified School District alleges that she was the victim of adverse employment actions, which ultimately led to her early retirement.

The plaintiff allegedly had stellar performance reviews prior to her taking a leave to care for her ailing father and husband. Once she returned to work, she noticed that there was a vendor who was being paid more than expected.  This vendor was also apparently a friend of the current superintendent.

Her questioning of the invoices allegedly led to her suffering harassment at the hands of her superiors. Due to all of the stress of the situation, she was placed on a disability leave. After she recovered, she claims that she was moved into another department, which caused her further stress. When she tried to be transferred back to her original department, she asserts that her request was denied.

All of this additional strain allegedly caused the plaintiff to go on leave again after she began manifesting physical symptoms of her anxiety. Ultimately, as a result of her illness and all of the adverse employment actions, she felt forced to take an early retirement. A California jury sided with the plaintiff and awarded her $555,000. It is against the law for employers to retaliate against workers for reporting unethical behavior, and those who are victimized can turn to the law for justice.

Source: sgvtribune.com, "Court awards Hacienda La Puente Unified whistleblower $555K in wrongful termination case", Stephanie K. Baer, June 9, 2015

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