Wrongful Termination Lawsuit Results in $725,000 Settlement

June 16, 2015 - Kelly O’Haire, former San Francisco Police Department lawyer, sued the city and the Police Department in 2013. She claims that she was fired because she made accusations that the chief mishandled a domestic violence investigation. City officials recently agreed to pay $725,000 settlement.

When O’Haire worked for the SFPD, she was in internal affairs. In 2009, she recommended that then Deputy Chief Suhr be fired after a friend called in to report that her boyfriend had been physically abusive. While Suhr encouraged the woman to file a police report, he did not attempt to arrest the boyfriend. O’Haire states that this was in violation of department policy. O’Haire was demoted to captain.

Two years later, O’Haire was promoted to chief and within weeks he fired O’Haire. Her supervisor was also fired. Suhr claims that both terminations were a part of efforts to cut costs. After a judge refused to toss out the case, the settlement was announced. The judge and the city’s Board of Supervisors will need to authorize the payout.

Since her dismissal from the police department, O’Haire has been unable to find work as an attorney. O’Haire is working as an investigator with the University of California, Berkeley. City lawyers apparently decided to offer a settlement after it was discovered that other employees that the police department let go to “cut costs” were allowed to stay on the job after notification of termination so that they could maximize their retirement benefits. In comparison, O’Haire was not allowed the same opportunity.

If you have questions regarding wrongful termination or in what instances being fired is illegal, please get in touch with the southern California employment law attorneys at Blumenthal, Nordrehaug & Bhowmik.