Settlement Between Former Employee and NFL Network Approved

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A settlement was approved for a lawsuit brought against the NFL Network by a former wardrobe stylist, Jami Canton. Canton claimed a slew of labor law violations, including: sexual harassment, age discrimination, workplace retaliation, wrongful termination and defamation. The settlement was approved by Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Michael Stern after Jami Cantor filed a motion to resolve the suit seeking civil penalties. In exchange for the settlement, Cantor agreed to drop all claims.

Donovan McNabb and Eric Davis, former NFL Network analysts, were both fired in January by ESPN after a month-long investigation into claims of inappropriate behavior on the job made by Cantor. Cantor, as an aggrieved employee, will receive 25% of the approved settlement amount while the other 75% will be distributed to the state Labor & Workforce Development Agency (LWDA). The LWDA is a cabinet-level state agency responsible for coordinating workforce programs and oversight of seven different departments that deal with benefit administration and upholding and enforcing employment laws of the state of California.

Cantor filed the California lawsuit in September. In the complaint she claimed she began work in 2006 and was employed at the NFL’s Culver City studio. As part of her job, Cantor claims she was responsible for creating a wardrobe closet to make sure that talent would have clothes to wear for the NFL shows. During the course of her employment, Cantor alleged that she was subjected to numerous instances of sexual harassment at the hands of a number of different NFL employees. Claims of harassment included: inappropriate touching, inappropriate references, inappropriate comments, texted photos of a sexual nature, etc. All this while Cantor repeatedly made it clear that the advances were unwanted and not reciprocated.

Cantor claims that nothing was done in response to her complaints and that rather than assisting her with the situation, the NFL made her life more difficult by increasing her workload and decreasing her hours. In addition to the harassment claims, Cantor levied a number of other labor law violation complaints against her former employer, including: failure to pay overtime, failure to provide required meal and rest breaks, failure to reimburse for business expenses, and wrongful termination.

Cantor was fired in October of 2016. She claims she was falsely accused of stealing clothing from an employee. She also claims that internal video would prove that she had not taken anything. When she was terminated, Cantor was 51 years old. Her replacement was 30 years old.

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

Lawsuit Claiming Bias in Firing: Former Athletic Director vs. St. Francis

April 27, 2015 -Sacramento native, Kolleen “Koko” McNamee was recently banished from the St. Francis Catholic High School campus. Prior to her banishment, she was the athletic director. The school was her alma mater (as well as that of her three sisters and her aunt). She spent 11 years as the schools athletic director. She even had plans for her own three daughters to attend her beloved alma mater. She was a very unlikely candidate for banishment. 

McNamee was fired from her position as athletic director in August of 2012. A guard watched as she packed her few belongings and then she was escorted off campus. Later that year McNamee sued the Roman Catholic Diocese of Sacramento (the school’s owner), two former administrators, and one administrator still actively involved at the school. In her suit, McNamee claims she was subjected to gender discrimination as well as defamation and workplace retaliation. She filed suit in order to obtain monetary damages of an unspecified amount.

The diocese requested the lawsuit be thrown out. Federal Judge Morrison C. England, Jr rejected the request. As is the case in many such cases, there are multiple characters and numerous stories and details that can make determining what actually happened difficult. McNamee claims that she saw “ugly” behavior from the varsity basketball coach at the games. When she reported the behavior as inappropriate, is escalated into her being fired and banned from campus. The varsity basketball coach, Vic Pitton, still works at the school.

Pitton denies claims that he has been seen as exhibiting negative behavior, but his story conflicts with not only McNamee, but also the school’s principal who said that he was “removed” from his position because his behavior was contrary to how she wanted the school to be perceived. She described his behavior as volatile and mentioned that he would go into rages during the games, yell at the referees, etc. Other documentation supports this information from another leader at the school: Vice Principal Urhammer.

For more information on bias in firing, retaliation and other discrimination in the workplace, contact your southern California employment law experts at Blumenthal, Nordrehaug & Bhowmik.