Andrew MacDonald is a visual effects specialist. While on the job, he witnessed an executive using cocaine while both were in the men's restroom. MacDonald reported the illegal activity to his superiors and was promptly fired.
A year later, he filed a wrongful termination lawsuit against the studio. Now, three years later, MacDonald has been awarded $450,000 after a jury agreed that he was fired in retaliation for reporting the drug use.
Ascent Media Group was the defendant in the wrongful termination lawsuit. It claimed that MacDonald was fired not for reporting illegal activity but for videotaping an executive in the restroom. MacDonald denies that he made a tape of drug use.
Whether MacDonald will receive any additional damages for the retaliatory discharge will be determined during a separate trial. Jurors found that at least one officer for Ascent Media Group acted maliciously in firing MacDonald, triggering a trial on additional punitive damages.
A claim for wrongful termination can arise from a variety of situations, including retaliation for:
- Reporting discrimination or harassment in the workplace
- Reporting a violation of federal or state employment, environmental or other law
- Backing up a coworker's claim of harassment or discrimination in the workplace
If you think you were fired for an illegal reason, an employment law attorney in your area can help you understand the law and what your rights are based on your specific circumstances.
Source: Mercury News, "$450K for fired worker who tattled on cocaine use," October 24, 2012