Napa Valley Resort Faces California Wrongful Termination Lawsuit

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Daniel Philbin (aka Dan) recently filed a wrongful termination lawsuit against a Carneros Resort and Spa, a Napa Valley Resort. Philbin is a former Director of Facilities. At this point, the facts are muddied by what very quickly became a case of he said, she said.

Philbin alleges he was fired from his job. The resort’s public relations firm claims Philbin resigned voluntarily after a renegotiation of the terms of his employment was unsuccessful.

Philbin claims that during the course of his time as Director of Facilities, he made numerous attempts to get his employer to comply with standards required by the American with Disabilities Act, provide an accurate reporting of water usage, and procure the necessary permits required by law. Philbin alleges he was fired out of retaliation for his efforts. Carneros claims that the water issues Philbin mentions pre-date the current ownership of the resort and that the current owners actually brought the problem to the attention of the County in 2014. They claim that the resort addressed all concerns regarding ADA issues when they were brought to the company’s attention. They also claim that Philbin’s California wrongful termination suit is without merit.

In support of his allegations, Philbin claims:

In 2014, the resort refused to install ramps between the deck and patio spaces and lifts at the hot tubs and pools that would have allowed guests with disabilities to access their facilities and services.

Carneros obtained a permit for the drilling of a new well in 2015, but did not obtain the associated permits required for subsequent electrical and water connections.

Philbin claims he noted an error in documents regarding water consumption that were submitted to the municipality and his efforts were ignored.

According to Philbin, the company started to exclude him from meetings, and quickly became confusing and difficult. Philbin states that he suggested he direct all his energy on the job towards the water situation since it was an important issue and allow a co-worker to handle the rest of his work duties. The suggestion was rejected by Carneros and Philbin was informed weeks later that an outside vendor would be handling the resort’s water issues and he would stay on for a flat monthly rate. Philbin states that he thought about the offer for about a week before accepting the flat rate offer. Instead, he suddenly received notice that his resignation had been accepted by Carneros – even though Philbin claims he never issued his resignation.

Philbin seeks a trial by jury, damages, attorneys’ fees and costs.

If you have questions about what constitutes wrongful termination, please get in touch with one of the experienced California employment law attorneys at Blumenthal Nordrehaug Bhowmik De Blouw LLP.