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$2.7 Million Awarded in California Wrongful Termination Damages

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Alameda County, CAFive ousted workers of a large laboratory enterprise operated in partnership with the University of California were awarded $2.7 million in a California wrongful termination trial. Those same five could be in for more as a multi-tiered action moves forward, and their terminated fellow colleagues could also be in for a hefty payday if a second trial goes ahead.

As reported by The San Francisco Chronicle (5/14/13), a spate of layoffs at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in 2008 was blamed on a reduction in federal funding to the nuclear facility. No fewer than 440 employees were shown the door. However, plaintiffs note that layoffs - the first at the facility in nearly four decades - occurred following the arrival of Bechtel Corp., a contractor that entered into a public-private partnership with the University of California. Bechtel is described in the report as the facility’s first private contractor.

Plaintiffs in the California wrongful employment termination case allege that Lawrence Livermore violated policies designed to protect more tenured staff. According to attorneys familiar with the case, the average age and experience levels of the 130 plaintiffs involved in the action were 54 years and 20 years, respectively.

In one case, according to a plaintiff attorney, a lab worker with 38 years of experience was pink slipped, while a co-worker with just 15 months on the job was retained. The affected employees cite age discrimination and California wrongful employee termination.

Five of the 130 plaintiffs launched a wrongful termination lawsuit, alleging that their jobs should have been protected by way of a contractual agreement restricting termination to “reasonable cause.” Last month a jury in Alameda County awarded the five senior workers in excess of $2.7 million in California wrongful termination damages. According to the report, individual amounts ranged from $242,000 to $853,000 and represented lost wages following the 2008 layoffs.

Those same five plaintiffs will now pursue the second phase of a multi-tiered lawsuit undertaken by their California wrongful termination attorneys for age discrimination, and the pursuit of additional damages for emotional distress and punitive damages. Another collection of plaintiffs, numbering 125, await their own trials based on similar allegations.

California wrongful termination attorneys representing the plaintiffs noted in the report that the $2.7 million verdict should encourage the University of California and Bechtel Corp. to settle remaining claims with disgruntled plaintiffs. Failing that, the attorneys stated a willingness to try the claims for the remaining 125 co-plaintiffs.

Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory issued a statement indicating managers at the facility had followed federal Department of Energy guidelines when undertaking the layoffs, and denied targeting higher-paid, senior employees to be California terminated. Spokeswoman Lynda Seaver went on to say that Lawrence Livermore disagrees with the juror’s findings and is considering its options. “The laboratory believes it acted in good faith,” she said in a statement dated May 13.

California wrongful termination law spells out the criteria by which employers can legally terminate an employee. Many employers run afoul of those guidelines.


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Posted by

People presumably use their real names to complain on the internet how no one will hire him or her and that he or she is black-listed. That's not the smartest tactic toward getting rehired someplace ... lol.

Posted by

I wish the laws in NYC were the same as in California because I was wrongfully terminated in 2008 by the NYC Dept of Education after reporting a tenured teacher for hitting a then 10 year old child that cost me my entire life and future of my grand children. I was 50 when I was fired and not only was I fired but am also placed on their secret Blacklist which has prevented me from ever being able to work again.

Posted by

2/29/2012 I was wrongfuly terminated from my job after 7 years.I contacted dozens of attorneys inwhich all turn me away.I even obtain a right to sue from eeoc.Right now i'm still to the present looking for another age 54,Last company worked for.westrux international inc,for 7 years my superviser jeff hensel.could not get his mechanics to pick up off the floor thair used truck parts and deposit them in the scrap bin.This job was dumped off on me and i was hired as a janitor.the problem with this.what was to be done with the old parts that came off the trucks.was in the work orders on the repairs of the trucks,which went to the mechincs not for 7years i'm picking up off the shop floor used truck parts and not knowing what to do with them.all parts were not trash


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