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December 2012 Archives

Lawsuit claims pharmacist was wrongfully fired for praying

A pharmacist who says she was fired from a California Walmart for praying with a customer has filed a lawsuit alleging workplace discrimination. The pharmacist, who had worked for Walmart in Bakersfield since 2006, admitted she had prayed with customers and told them, "be healed." However, she says she was written up only after raising concerns about other employees improperly handling and distributing narcotics in violation of DEA rules. At the time, she was warned that she should refrain from praying on the job.A few months after the initial reprimand, the woman claims her supervisor confronted her with a surveillance video that appeared to show her praying with a customer who was crying. She denied that she was praying; she said she simply was trying to console the person. Thereafter, the woman was fired for misconduct.

Former health plan employees sue for wrongful termination

The Ventura County Medi-Cal system is facing a wrongful termination lawsuit filed by two former employees of the Gold Coast Health Plan. The lawsuit alleges an antagonistic work environment where financial mismanagement, harassment and retaliation were widespread. Among other things, the lawsuit claims accounting errors left up to $1 million in funds unaccounted for and that the former CEO maintained a $250,000 slush fund in order to avoid submitting payment requests to a governing commission. The health plan has had a troubled past. Since it was established in 2011, there have been numerous concerns about the plan's solvency, errors in claims processing and high employee turnover. As a result of these issues, the state of California has required the plan to make several operational and financial changes.

Workplace affair costs taxpayers

A long-time affair between a San Luis Obispo county supervisor and his legislative assistant will cost taxpayers thousands. When news of the affair became public, the county administrator announced plans to move the woman to a new county position at the same rate of pay. The $68,870 annual salary will be paid out of discretionary funds. Critics say the woman is not entitled to the new position and the county should not be paying for it. The woman previously worked in the clerk recorder's office. She left that position six years ago to become a legislative assistant, which is not a civil service position. A former county supervisor says this means the woman has no right to transfer back to a county position. Other county employees who left their positions to become legislative assistants did not receive the same preferential treatment. Local attorneys speculate the county is trying to avoid a sexual harassment claim by the woman.

'The Price Is Right' producers owe for wrongful termination

A California jury has awarded a former model on "The Price Is Right" game show punitive damages of $7.7 million for pregnancy discrimination and wrongful termination. The woman, who appeared on the show for seven years prior to the birth of her twins, already had been awarded actual damages of $777,000. The punitive damages award is in addition to the earlier award. The show's producers are appealing.The former model, who tried to conceive for years before finally becoming pregnant, said the show's executive producer was upset when she told him she was having twins, expressing concern that she would get really big. She also said her co-workers called her "wide load" and teased that she would break the set with the additional baby weight. Once her pregnancy started to show, the producers stopped calling her for work, and when she tried to return from maternity leave, she was rejected.

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