A trial is underway in Marin Superior Court regarding a discrimination lawsuit brought against Lucasfilm by a rejected job prospect. The prospect, Julie Gilman Veronese, said that Lucasfilm hired her and then fired her again after they learned she was pregnant. Veronese sued the company claiming gender discrimination, wrongful termination, retaliation, and failure to investigate and prevent discrimination. She is seeking $677,000 in economic damages, plus unspecified damages for emotional distress.
Employment law attorneys for Lucasfilm say that Veronese did not get a job with the company because supervisors felt she was narcissistic and too self-involved with a over-entitled attitude. Veronese had signed a 30-day employment contract to be the assistant to the manager of Lucas’ San Anselmo estate. The manager of his household and local properties, Sarita Patel, had at first felt that Veronese was too good to be true, but changed her opinion about her later. Veronese claims that the opinion change and termination was in retaliation for her pregnancy.
Veronese never actually started work with Lucasfilm. She informed Patel a couple of days after she signed her contract near the end of June 2008 that she was pregnant and experiencing morning sickness. Over the following month, emails continued between the two parties in which Veronese said she was still sick and did not suggest that she work anyway, and Patel and human resources said she should start when she was feeling well again. Later, when the parties agreed to set a new 30-day start date beginning in mid-August, Veronese said she had reservations about taking the job because she felt the terms had changed because of her pregnancy.
George Lucas, attorneys for Lucasfilms, Patel, and others all claim that Lucasfilm is a family-friendly company and point to many employees of the company who have had children over the years. Patel says that she was looking specifically for someone who would stay for a while. The initial contract was a 30-day temporary contract with the possibility of extending it to a permanent position. Veronese said she faced emotional distress after having her “dream job” fall apart.
Lucas, plaintiff testify in Lucasfilm discrimination trial (Contra Costa Times)