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City of Oakland loses retaliation lawsuit for over $600,000

After the former director of employee relations for Oakland refused to overlook unlawful conduct, she claims she was fired. The woman filed her claim in a California federal court. The plaintiff was allegedly stuck in the middle of a power struggle that was going on between 2012 and 2013 and believes that the city terminated her in retaliation for not playing along and acting as a whistleblower.

The plaintiff claims that the former city administrator tried to get her to lie several times so that one of the council members would be removed from office. She was asked to fabricate a report dealing with the Rainbow Teen Center, which was intended to misrepresent the council member that the administrator wanted ousted. The document was going to be used to accuse the council member of making purchases and hiring decisions that violated the city's charter.

Additionally, the plaintiff noticed problems caused by the city's fire chief, who had allegedly made negotiations with the firefighter's union without permission. The former city administrator apparently agreed to this happening. The plaintiff also noticed that the city treasurer was not upholding her obligation of collecting dues for the union from the part-time workers for a few years.

When the plaintiff reported all of the alleged wrongdoing, she claims she was fired. A California jury agreed that the city had acted in retaliation against the plaintiff and awarded her over $600,000 in damages. The lawyer for the city commented that the city does not agree with the jury and claims that the plaintiff was hired at will, so she could be fired without notice for any reason.

Source: eastbayexpress.com, "Jury Awards Whistleblower $613,302 in Lawsuit Against City of Oakland", Darwin BondGraham, Sept. 24, 2015

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