Barbara Casey has filed suit against Home Box Office Inc. (HBO), Stewart Productions LLC, and her former employer, the American Humane Association (AHA), alleging wrongful termination. Ms. Casey was a consultant with the AHA who was asked to work with HBO on the set of a new reality TV series, Luck.
The series depicts the world of horse racing. Ms. Casey alleges that she was fired from her job because she threatened to expose the mistreatment of horses used on the show. AHA and Stewart Productions refused to comment. HBO representatives said only that they believed the highest possible standard of humane treatment was used on the animals and that HBO never actually employed Ms. Casey.
Under California law, most employees are considered “at will” employees. An at will employee may be fired at any time, for any reason, subject to limitations under the law. The California Governor’s Office of Business and Economic Development recommends that employers specifically use the terminology of “at will” employment in all written communication with their employees to foreclose the possibility of lawsuits such Ms. Casey's.
If employers fail to clearly signal employees that they can be let go at any time for any reason, employees generally have more ammunition to attack their former employers in court for alleged wrongful termination.
If you believe that you were fired from your job for reasons of discrimination, retaliation or other unlawful reason, you may be able to recover damages from your former employer. It is important to speak as soon as possible after your termination with a competent employment law attorney to protect your rights under the law.