A jury in San Diego decided on May 3 to have Allstate Insurance award $18.6 million in damages to one of its former employees for his wrongful termination. According to court records, the 55-year-old worker had apparently been let go back in 2015 after he was arrested following an altercation with his girlfriend at the time in Arizona.
In the fired worker's original complaint, he noted that he'd been working for the insurance industry giant for 30 years at the time of his arrest. He chronicled how he'd initially come to work for the company in sales straight after graduating from college and had climbed the ranks, later becoming an mentor to 30 different agents and their own employees.
According to the same filing, the plaintiff had never been faulted for the quality of his work product. Despite this, he notes that in May of 2015, Allstate fired him without warning.
In his filing, he stated that when asked for the reason he was terminated, he was reportedly told that he'd violated company policy by threatening someone. The man had argued in his lawsuit that his ex-girlfriend had indeed pressed charges against him at the end of 2014 for allegedly threatening her, but that the charges were later thrown out. His girlfriend was under the care of a psychiatrist at the time of his arrest.
The plaintiff stated that he was called into to speak with representatives in the human resources department soon thereafter. After that, he contends that he never heard anything further from them about the matter until he found out he was being let go.
In his filing, he argues that since he's never been convicted of any crimes prior to or after the incident in 2014, that Allstate's firing of him went directly against California's Labor Code. That law precludes employers from firing someone if an arrest doesn't end up with a conviction. He argued that Allstate violated public policies by how it handled the case and that they also defamed him.
Of the damages the jury decided to award the man, he received just over $2.6 million in compensatory damages and nearly $16 million in punitive ones. It's unclear if Allstate intends to appeal the settlement.
If you suspect that you've been unlawfully let go from your job, then a Long Beach employment law attorney can advise you of your right to file a lawsuit.
Source: Autobody News, "CA Jury Awards Fired Allstate Employee More Than $18 Million," Denise Johnson, May 16, 2018