Appellate Court Upholds Jury Award in Whistleblower Case
A California appellate court recently upheld a large jury award in a whistleblower case involving a Los Angeles-based entertainment and media company. Whistleblower retaliation laws in California protect employees from adverse actions taken by an employer when an employee reports safety violations, unsafe working conditions or harassment. The jury in this case found the employer liable for whistleblower retaliation under California Labor Code section 232.5 and section 1102.5. The jury awarded the former employee $7 million in damages.
In September 2017, the employee was onsite and city inspectors found approximately 20 code violations. The employee raised concerns with the company owner, as the work he was doing involved electrical and plumbing for hologram equipment. The company owner responded by yelling at and firing the employee.
The jury awarded $6 million in punitive damages, $368,717 in economic damages and $700,000 in noneconomic damages. The employer appealed this decision, but the appellate court upheld the original ruling.
Workplace conditions, safety, and freedom from fear of retaliation are things that employees should not have to question in the workplace. It is the employer’s obligation to provide a safe work environment free from discrimination and harassment. In this case, the employer failed to do so, which left the employer vulnerable to monetary damages.
If you or someone you know has been a victim of retaliation in the workplace, call us for a FREE consultation at (888) 855-2505 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.