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Caufield & James, L.L.P

Serving clients in Hawaii and throughout California, including Sacramento, Los Angeles, Chico, Jackson and San Diego

Call Us Now Toll-Free

Southern California school district criticized after employee firing

Southern California school district criticized after employee firing

| Apr 23, 2020 | Litigation |

A Southern California school district is under fire from within after its acting director of classified human resources was fired by the superintendent.

The man was hired on Jan. 20 by the district’s Personnel Commission to fill the job. The commission, which uses the district’s merit system in evaluating nonteaching employees, contends it hired the man and that the superintendent had no authority to fire him.

The commission has filed suit against the district, declaring the man was wrongfully terminated. The district disagrees that it cannot fire someone hired by the Personnel Commission.

The district has a history of what the commission’s lawsuit calls hiring “unqualified personnel,” citing a state audit that said the district brought in people who didn’t meet required qualifications set by the district. Three other audits also faulted district performance in other areas.

The man has not sued to ask for his job back, but the commission wants him reinstated.

The man was fired after less than two months on the job after he presented issues he had discovered that involved district hiring practices. When the superintendent failed to respond to an email from the man, he shared his concerns with the school board.

The committee contends he was fired in retaliation.

The case is pending in Los Angeles Superior Court, and it will be fascinating to watch as it progresses. Any employer, whether a public entity or a private business, has rules and laws it must follow when it comes to terminating employees, and they must be protected from retaliation for exposing potential wrongdoing.

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