Summary Judgment Reversed In Wrongful Termination Case

A woman who was employed as the manager at Barnes & Noble located on the campus of the West Valley-Mission Community College in Saratoga from 2002 to 2010, has was determined to have been wrongfully terminated. She worked before that for the company for another 15 years in various jobs.

She was given a copy of the code of conduct and ethics for the company that listed her employment as “at-will.” She acknowledged receipt of the code of conduct in 1999 and she had signed off on it. She was never promised an employee contract or tenure.

The woman received performance reviews each year that said she lacked organizational skills and communication skills. The dates of the reviews specifically citing this were from 2001 to 2008. Total scores on her reviews showed that she had met the “applicable standards and met or exceeded standards in most individual categories.” However, in 2009, her book store had an excess inventory worth $66,000, which got her a below standard rating for the category of fiscal matters.

The woman tried to argue that she was dealing with discrimination with the college’s liaison. Eventually, in 2010, the college president and the liaison got in touch with the woman’s supervisor and said that “[the] plaintiff was not a good fit for the campus.” She filed a complaint against Barnes & Noble in 2012. The complaint also included the college and the college president.

In 2013, the company asked for a summary judgment, telling the court that the woman “was an at-will employee who was terminated for legitimate business reasons.” The woman said she was fired due to gender discrimination because the company did not protect her from the liaison’s sexual harassment.

The appeals court said that neither the plaintiff nor the defendants were favored by the definition of “at-will” employment.” As a result, the woman’s testimony should be heard at trial. The summary judgment was reversed.

Those who believe they have been terminated due to vdiscrimination of protected classhave a right to seek compensation after filing a complaint with the Equal Opportunity Employment Commission. An attorney can help you learn more about the options that are available to fight such a claim.

Source: vNorthern California Record, “Wrongful termination lawsuit against Barnes & Noble moves forward,” Angela Underwood, May 01, 2017