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Wrongful termination case moves forward against bank

A complaint filed by a former California employee of Wells Fargo Bank has been reinstated by a federal appeals court after a divided ruling. The former employee filed a wrongful termination lawsuit against the bank, arguing that she had been subject to discrimination and retaliation as well as violations of the California Family Rights Act. While she was on leave after giving birth to her child, she was fired from her position as a loan officer at the bank.

Earlier on, the U.S. District Court in Pasadena had granted summary judgment to the bank, dismissing the ex-employee's claims. However, a panel of a federal appeals court allowed her wrongful termination complaint to move forward. The bank had claimed that the employee was let go because of an overall market downturn and associated workforce reduction, presenting the court with a "business case" for her dismissal that was dated three days prior to her termination in October 2014.

However, the former employee submitted evidence that there was no actual decline in business and that the company had simply reassigned loan responsibilities internally. In addition, she noted that the "business case" document provides little to no substantiation of the claims of a market downturn.

The appeals court held that there was a legitimate matter of fact to be reviewed in the case. While the court said that the evidence presented by both sides was "limited," it also said that determining which side's evidence was more persuasive was a matter for the trier of fact in further legal proceedings.

When people lose their jobs due to unlawful discrimination, employers may claim that the dismissal was justified due to unrelated reasons. An employment lawyer can help people who have suffered discrimination on the job bring their claims forward with strong evidence of the realities of the injustices they have suffered and seek justice for the harms done.

Source: Business Insurance, "Wrongful termination charges against Wells Fargo Bank reinstated," Judy Greenwald, June 21, 2018

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