It is not uncommon for employers in San Diego and throughout the entire state of California to conduct layoffs when faced with tough economic times. When it comes to tightening budgets, hiring freezes are usually put in place and jobs held by private and government employees may even be eliminated.
However, there are instances when employers do not conduct layoffs in a proper manner, and discrimination may play a role in an employer’s decision to terminate an employee. This practice could certainly be in violation of labor and employment laws.
Earlier this year, 14 Pasadena city employees were laid off by the city as a result of budget cuts. The employees were given up to six months of severance pay after their jobs were eliminated. But last week, seven of the employees that had been laid off filed a wrongful termination lawsuit against city officials claiming that their jobs did not need to be cut.
The lawsuit was filed on June 7. According to the suit, the city’s claim that it had laid off employees due to economic reasons is suspicious. The city has not issued a hiring freeze and new employees have been hired to fill open positions, yet the positions of 14 other workers were cut in March due to the city’s alleged budget crisis.
In response to the lawsuit, the city has stated that the layoffs were conducted “fairly and properly.” However, the seven former employees claim that age discrimination played a role in the city’s decision to terminate them.
One of the former employees has even cited defamation in the lawsuit, claiming that her job prospects were destroyed after a city official had called her a name during a meeting in December.
The former city employees are requesting to return to their jobs. They are also requesting nearly $10 million in damages in an effort to hold the city accountable for violating state and federal employment and labor laws.
Source: Pasadena Sun, “Ex-Pasadena employees sue city over layoffs,” Adolfo Flores, June 12, 2012