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Bryant Whitten, LLP

Former insurance employee wins wrongful termination suit

A man who says he was wrongfully let go from his job was recently vindicated in court. A California jury heard the case and decided that the man's arrest record was wrongfully used against him. He was awarded $18 million by the jury in the wrongful termination case. 

The 55-year-old worked for the insurer Allstate. He was let go from his position in 2016 following a 2015 arrest after an argument with a girlfriend during which he was charged for an unspecified crime. All charges against the man were later dismissed and no conviction was secured. 

He sued for wrongful termination. The court found that it was unlawful for the man's prior arrest record to be used to terminate him if the charges were dropped. State labor law prohibits firing an employee for this reason. He was awarded $2.6 million in actual damages, and an additional sum totalling nearly $16 million for punitive damages. A spokesperson representing the insurer says that the company disagrees with the decision and ultimately intends to appeal. 

California labor law protects employees against wrongful termination. As demonstrated by this man's case, a record of arrests cannot be used against the employee if the charges have been dismissed. If an employer should choose to terminate an employee for this reason, the employer faces potentially significant penalties. An individual who has experienced this type of injustice in the workplace may be wondering what can be done to improve the situation. Many individuals choose to work with an experienced employment law attorney who can help them fight for justice. 

Source: insurancejournal.com, "Fired Allstate Employee Awarded $18M by California Jury", May 7, 2018

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