LGBT Pride ex-director settles wrongful termination suit

A wrongful termination suit filed against the California gay civil rights organization known as LGBT Pride by its former executive director has been settled. The lawsuit was pending in the San Diego Superior Court and had a trial date set for late October. Indeed, some witnesses had already been deposed. However, the wrongful termination case was recently settled outside of court confidentially, resulting in dismissal of the pending litigation.

The former director filed the wrongful termination suit in May 2010 after the LGBT Pride's board of directors fired him on Jan. 5, 2010. Prior to the termination, which happened in the wake of a disagreement between him and fellow board members, the man had been director of LGBT Pride for four years. The dispute stemmed from the director's opinion that a $5,000 payment made to a fellow board member was inappropriate and contrary to the organization's bylaws, which prohibited payments to be made to board members.

According to the board members who voted in favor of the payment, it had been issued as a reward for their fellow board member's contribution to gay pride events. Later, however, the board members who approved of the payment resigned as did the man who received the payment. The recipient also returned the $5,000.

Though pleased with the outcome, the former LBGT Pride executive director said in a statement on November 28, he explained that he was not legally permitted to discuss the case or the settlement. The former director is now serving as the executive vice president for Palm Springs Pride.

Workplace disagreements are common in California and elsewhere, but sometimes they are so polarizing that they result in an employee being fired without proper cause. In such cases, it may be possible for the former employee to pursue a wrongful termination suit. While every case is different, it may be possible for a wrongfully terminated employee to receive compensation for lost wages or even have his or her former job reinstated.

Source: LGBT Weekly, "Ron deHarte's wrongful termination suit from Pride settled quietly," Neal Putnam, Dec. 1, 2011

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