Wrongful termination suit focuses on pregnancy

The California Supreme Court recently ruled that a pregnancy discrimination lawsuit against filmmaking giant Lucasfilm Ltd. will be handed back down to Superior Court. The decision is the latest move in a long running case that centers on a claim of wrongful termination. A new trial date is expected, which will give the terminated employee another chance to make her case in front of a new jury.

At the heart of the issue are allegations made by a former employee of Lucasfilm. The woman, who was 36 at the time, claims that she was hired for the position of assistant to the estate manager who handles the estate of filmmaker George Lucas. However, she was terminated before she could begin that position. She claims that her termination was due solely to the fact that she chose to become pregnant.

Lucasfilm claimed that the woman was terminated due to a poor attitude. In addition, the company asserted that she intentionally hid her pregnancy, and attempted to exploit the pregnancy benefits of the company. The jury heard testimony from George Lucas as part of the proceeding.

A three-week trial resulted in a ruling by jury that Lucasfilm had committed pregnancy discrimination. In addition, the company was found that wrongful termination had occurred, and that the film company failed to prevent pregnancy discrimination. The woman was awarded $1.2 million in attorney's fees and $113,830 in economic damages. The film company appealed and won, at which point the verdict was reversed. The latest ruling is the result of an appeal made by the employee, and will allow her the chance for a new California trial in the matter.

Source: The Huffington Post, "Lucasfilm Pregnancy Lawsuit: Film Company Granted Legal Victory," Gary Klien, March 28, 2013

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