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.

Eddie Money’s Ex Drummer’s Wrongful Termination Lawsuit Moves Forward

If you’ve been keeping up with the case involving Eddie Money’s ex drummer, you will be interested to discover that Money lost the motion to dismiss and the wrongful termination lawsuit will move forward. His ex drummer, Glenn Symmonds, made claims – some of which the court refused to dismiss and the suit is scheduled to go to trial in November 2017.

Major publications have reported that Money plans to appeal the decision and still insists that Symmonds’ suit is without merit. Money’s legal representation stated that he is defending his right to decide who plays in his “faceless” back-up band. They called into question the legality of forcing well-respected and seasoned artists to retain specific support musicians stating that this would be a major blow to overall artistic integrity. The Defendant claims that he is fighting for the rights of musicians everywhere as he seeks to defend the freedom to choose how musicians express themselves. Money’s lawyers pointed at Glenn Symmonds allegedly poor character as sufficient reason for Money chose not to have him back, stating that Symmonds is ungrateful, vindictive, and awful. They also insist that “everything” alleged in the lawsuit by Symmonds is false. 

The court did rule in Money’s favor when they agreed to attempts at limiting how much info from depositions can be made public. Yet some info has already made it into the public record, particularly his off hand commentary comparing his justifications for firing Symmonds to an imaginary album titled The Reasons Why I Fired Glenn.

Money claims that after he fired Symmonds, his former drummer sent angry text messages, complained about the situation on social media and even threatened concert promoters. Symmonds denies these accusations.

Symmonds filed the suit in October 2015 when Money decided to replace his band with his own children. The suit effectively ended a professional and personal relationship that dated back to 1974.

Symmonds suit alleges that Money often mocked him while he was recovering from bladder cancer and a back injury. Symmonds’ fiancé also joined the suit claiming that Money sexually harassed her by making repeated lewd comments, attempting to kiss her in 2013 during a private party performance where, according to Symmonds’ fiancé’s allegations, Money unzipped his pants, put a thumb through the zipper and started to gyrate and dance while wiggling his thumb and facing her.

Money denies the allegations made against him.

If you have questions about what constitutes wrongful termination or if you have been harassed on the job, please get in touch with one of the experienced California employment law attorneys at Blumenthal, Nordrehaug & Bhowmik.

Desperate Housewives Star Files Retaliation Lawsuit

Many have heard of the popular TV series called the Desperate Housewives. Of those who watch the show, almost all should be familiar with Nicollette Sheridan. She has been called the most “risqué” of the women on the show. In most recent news, she may be better known for her recently filed lawsuit.

According to Sheridan, she got into a verbal argument on set with the writer/creator of the show, Marc Cherry. She claims that the argument ended when Cherry slapped her. According to Sheridan, this was battery. According to Cherry, this was stage direction.

Sheridan responded to the incident by complaining to the network as well as the show’s producer. The next year, her character, Edie Britt, was killed in the midst of the show. Sheridan saw this as retaliation for her complaints regarding the “battery” on set the previous year and filed a lawsuit claiming such. The lawsuit was twice dismissed by trial courts and revived twice by the court of appeal.

What secret, sordid detail led to such an intriguing on again, off again response from the courts? It’s not nearly as intriguing as one might expect from a plaintiff known for being “spicy.” In fact, it’s downright boring. The question that is causing the confusion is this: Did Sheridan have to file an administrative complaint with the Labor Commission before suing?

According to the court of appeals, she did not have to file such a complaint. Their decision was based on a brand-new labor code stating:

“A person is not required to exhaust administrative remedies…unless the section under which the action is brought expressly requires it.” The sections referenced in this case are not seen to “expressly require” it as they use the term “may” instead of “shall” in regards to filing a claim with the Labor Commission. The court of appeals does not feel that the word “may” indicates a mandatory requirement. This resulted in the reinstatement of her case allowing Sheridan the opportunity to seek resolution in court.

If you need to discuss on the job battery or if you have other questions regarding southern California employment law, please get in touch with the experienced attorneys at Blumenthal, Nordrehaug & Bhowmik.  

Wrongful Termination, Defamation Case: Former Edmonds’ HR Chief Awarded $1M

Edmonds’ long-time HR chief, Debi Humann, filed suit claiming that the mayor wrongfully fired and defamed him after her scrutiny into the pay rate and number of hours worked by Mayor Mike Cooper’s executive assistant. A federal jury awarded the former Edmonds city HR chief over $1M.

Ms. Humann was the director of human resources for the city of Edmond for 12 years until she was fired by ex-mayor Cooper in September of 2011. Her suit against the mayor and the city of Edmond in 2013 claimed small town political corruption. The trial took place in U.S. District Court in Seattle in front of a 10-member jury. They agreed, after a three week trial, to award Ms. Humann $1,035,351 in damages upon concluding that her termination was in violation of public policy and in violation of the 1st Amendment. They also concluded that the mayor was guilty of defamation of Ms. Humann to the media.

Consequently, she was awarded over $500,000 in back pay and future income as well as $500,000 for damage done to her reputation and distress due to defamation of her character.

Cases of wrongful termination are commonplace in today’s workplace. The complete number of employment law based suits has increased by 400% over the last 20 years. Of those lawsuits, over 40% are filed against employers who employ between 15 and 100 employees.

If you have questions or concerns about wrongful termination or defamation get in touch with the southern California employment law experts at Blumenthal, Nordrehaug & Bhowmik as soon as possible.