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ARTICLE ID 181998

$________ AWARD - RETALIATORY DISCHARGE - PLAINTIFF BECOMES PERMANENTLY DISABLED AND IS FORCED TO TAKE MEDICAL LEAVE BECAUSE OF WORKPLACE STRESS - PLAINTIFF TERMINATED AFTER SIX MONTHS OF MEDICAL LEAVE.

Contra Costa County, California

Plaintiff filed suit claiming his employer retaliated against him after he made complaints about age discrimination in the workplace. The plaintiff contended that upon providing information to his employer’s attorneys regarding a co-worker’s claim of age discrimination, a series of retaliatory acts commenced the next day. The plaintiff claimed he was forced to take a medical leave when the subsequent workplace stress caused his diabetes to become unmanageable. He alleged he sustained stress and major depression which aggravated his pre-existing diabetes and caused him to become permanently disabled. Additionally, he alleged his employer discriminated against him after he became disabled. The defendant argued the alleged acts of discrimination were not adverse employment actions and that he was legitimately administratively terminated when he did not return from medical leave.

The defendant hired the plaintiff in ________, and the plaintiff then began selling vacation property timeshares for the defendant. He was consistently promoted and by ________ he worked as the sales manager at the defendant’s Walnut Creek office. In January ________ he was directed to meet with the defendant’s lawyers to disclose his knowledge regarding a co-worker’s claim of age discrimination. The plaintiff provided information which helped to substantiate the co-workers claim.

The following day, the defendant placed the plaintiff on a series of performance contracts and warned him that he would be terminated if he did not meet them. The plaintiff alleged that later attempts were made to intimidate him into not giving adverse deposition testimony. He was deposed over the course of three days and the plaintiff contended that during this process he was threatened by top management. One of the plaintiff’s direct supervisors testified that he was transferred to his position with orders to "get rid" of the plaintiff. Testimony also indicated top management became involved and changed the plaintiff’s job duties in an effort to force him out of the company.

By February ________, the plaintiff had become so stressed that his doctor placed him on medical leave, and the defendant terminated his employment on August 11, ________. The defendant contended the alleged acts of discrimination were not adverse employment actions and that the plaintiff was legitimately administratively terminated when he did not return from medical leave.

At trial, the court allowed evidence of the plaintiff’s 20-year- old felony conviction for tax evasion and obstruction of justice. Over plaintiff’s objection, the defendant was allowed to read to the jury from the indictment and allocution in the plaintiff’s criminal case and argued that because the plaintiff had evaded taxes and lied to a federal judge, this fully impeached the plaintiff’s testimony. The plaintiff argued the irrelevance of the felony conviction and explained to the jury that the defendant hired him with the full knowledge of the conviction and even corresponded with the department of real estate to help the plaintiff obtain his real estate license.

The defendant additionally argued the plaintiff’s claims were barred by the statute of limitations, yet the court ruled the claims were all part of a continuing violation.

Following a 21 day trial, the court dismissed the plaintiff’s claims related to disability discrimination and the jury deliberated for more than two days before awarding the plaintiff $________ for past and future lost wages.

After considering post-trial motions, the court entered a final judgment after verdict in the amount of $________ in favor of the plaintiff. The judgment included $________ in attorney’s fees and $________ in costs, added to the jury’s verdict of $________ awarded on March 10, ________.

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