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Cardenas v. Fanaian, D.D.S., Inc., 240 Cal. App. 4th 1167, 194 Cal. Rptr. 3d 1 (2015)

An employee has a cause of action for damages against an employer for employment based retaliation for reporting and otherwise cooperating with law enforcement agents in an investigation involving theft.

The Factual Background

Plaintiff worked as a dental hygienist for defendant and after suspecting that her ring has been stolen at work by a coworker, she filed a police report. As part of the police investigation the officers visited the workplace wherein the employer after determining that such police presence and investigation was causing a disruption in the office and causing the office staff much discomfort, stress, and tension, made a decision to terminate the employee. In response, the Plaintiff employee filed a lawsuit seeking various causes of action against Defendant for retaliation in violation of California Labor Code, Section 1102.5, and wrongful termination in violation of public policy, wherein a jury found in favor of Plaintiff on both causes of action.

The Court of Appeals

The California Court of Appeals affirmed the jury’s decision holding that the plain and unambiguous language of Section 1102.5(b) creates a cause of action against an employer who retaliates against an employee for reporting to law enforcement a theft of her property at the workplace. The statute does not require that the report to law enforcement relate directly to the employment enterprise, where the Court determined that Section 1102.5(b) has been broadly construed to protect an employee from retaliation by his or her employer where the report to law enforcement concerns a violation of law committed by a fellow employee or contractor.

Employment based claims involving a large employer requires a law firm that is experienced, competent, and knowledgeable concerning the complexities of employment based classifications including bona-fide occupational qualifications (BFOQ). If you have any employment-related dispute and are considering suing your employer for discriminatory conduct contact the Orange County Employment Lawyers at Nassiri Law Group, practicing in Orange County, Riverside, and Los Angeles. Call (949) 375-4734.

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