California man wins wrongful termination suit over drug use

A California visual effects specialist filed a lawsuit after he was purportedly fired from his job because he complained about a co-worker's drug use. The man has since won his wrongful termination suit and has been awarded almost half-a-million dollars. He will be awarded even more under a settlement that was reached earlier.

The man claims that he told his boss about another employee using cocaine in the company's restroom. The supervisors at his company apparently downplayed the problems and he became frustrated. He asked if he had to resort to video-taping someone in the bathroom to actually get their attention over the problem. The next day he was fired, supposedly for his threat to videotape someone while in a restroom.

His wife was pregnant at the time of the termination and he lost his health benefits. A jury later found that the company had acted with malice after they fired the man. The case was scheduled to continue to determine the man's award for punitive damages, but both sides were able to come to a settlement. The employee accused of the drug use that was the catalyst for the wrongful termination lawsuit has also since been fired.

California employees have legal rights and are protected from such retaliatory acts by companies. The man in this lawsuit seemed to be merely frustrated over the company's inaction over another employee's drug use. When he was fired, his pregnant wife lost her health benefits, likely causing serious debt and stress for them. The wrongful termination lawsuit was successful and hopefully awarded him enough damages to compensate for his losses after he was terminated.

Source: 4 NBC, "Cocaine Tattler Wins Wrongful Termination Case," Sharon Bernstein, Oct. 24, 2012

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