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Workplace Retaliation Lawsuit: Los Angeles Police Department Employee Receives $1M

A Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) employee recently settled a retaliation lawsuit against the City when her employer violated both the California Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA) and Labor Code § 1102.5.

The plaintiff, Danielle Wells, received a $1 million settlement after alleging workplace discrimination, harassment and employer retaliation.

A Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) employee recently settled a retaliation lawsuit against the City when her employer violated both the California Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA) and Labor Code § 1102.5.

The plaintiff, Danielle Wells, received a $1 million settlement after alleging workplace discrimination, harassment and employer retaliation.

Wells Was Subjected to Repeated Mistreatment in the Workplace

Back in 1995, Wells started working with the LAPD, but in 2009 after working for several years and being promoted to a Sergeant role, the officer experienced pregnancy complications. Wells's lawsuit alleges that her Area Commanding Officer, Captain III William Hayes complained that she would be off "IOD" (Injured on Duty) due to her medical issues. The lawsuit also states that the LAPD Command Staff violated company policy when they ordered Wells return both her badge and gun while on maternity leave.

Upon Wells's return from leave, Captain Wall refused to allow her to work while she was on "light duty" status (with some medical restrictions). After returning to work, Wells also experienced a serious knee injury which resulted in surgery. Because Wells was on IOD multiple times, the LAPD decided to launch an investigation into her IOD history. The LAPD also would not allow Wells to come back to work until her medical restrictions were completely lifted.

The suit further alleged that the shoddy treatment from Wells's employer didn't stop there. Even when Wells was ordered to return to work with restrictions, one of her superiors, Captain Nancy Lauer also ordered that another Sergeant visit Wells's doctor's office in gun, badge and uniform in order to influence and intimidate her physician into lifting Wells's medical restrictions. The doctor ultimately refused, and in return, Captain Lauer threatened to report him to the California Medical Board.

How the LAPD Violated California Labor and Employment Laws

Wells's attorney Matthew S. McNicholas worked with fellow attorney Douglas Winter on her workplace retaliation case and brought claims against LAPD under California Labor Code 1102.5. The statute is known as the "whistleblower law" and protects California employees who report illegal conduct. Labor Code 1102.5 has been amended to expand the protections available to workers who complain about negative employer behaviors in the workplace. The amended code states that employees who complain of illegal conduct need only have a "reasonable belief" that the issues they are having in the workplace are illegal.
This means that even though Wells believed her employer's actions were unlawful, it technically didn't matter whether she prevailed on her complaint. The case resulted in a $1 million settlement.

Read the original story on Lawyers and Settlements: LAPD Employee Receives $1 Million Settlement for Workplace Retaliation

California Labor & Employment Laws: Additional Information

  • California Fair Employment and Housing Act
  • California Labor Code 1102.5
  • Real-Life Case Examples of Workplace Retaliation in California
  • Workplace Retaliation in California: Common Questions, Answered

Do you feel you're being subjected to unlawful workplace retaliation? Our Los Angeles employment law attorneys are here to fight for your employee rights. Contact us today for your free consultation.

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