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Bryant Whitten, LLP

Women's basketball coach files wrongful termination claim

After 16 years leading the team, the women's basketball coach for San Diego State University retired abruptly for unknown reasons. Six months later, she has filed a lawsuit that may explain what led to the unexpected move. According to a 34-page wrongful termination claim, the athletic director at SDSU told the 55-year-old coach that she could either resign, retire or be terminated.

During the meeting with the athletic director, the former coach was told that she had to quit because of an incident involving the assistant coach. The school then released a statement about the incident, explaining that the former coach had hit the assistant coach on his lap with a clipboard and elbowed him in his left shoulder. In her lawsuit, the former coach claims that the incident occurred during a basketball game and was unintentional.

Her lawsuit also claims that the school attempted to cover up the true reason for her dismissal by exaggerating a minor incident. According to the plaintiff, she was fired due to her regular complaints about the SDSU's unfair treatment of the women's basketball team. While she was a coach, the plaintiff claims to have witnessed the school place the women's basketball team on a lower footing than the men's basketball team.

While working for an organization that they care about, many employees wish to offer their input on how things may be improved. If an employee is fired for no reason other than offering advice, they may be able to file a wrongful termination claim. A lawyer may help to support an employee's claim by gathering witness testimony from coworkers and presenting it to a judge.

Source: U-T San Diego, "Burns files wrongful termination claim", Mark Zeigler, October 14, 2013

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