A Bank Executive in California Wins a $17M Wrongful Termination Judgment After Proving the Bank Fired Him to Avoid Paying Him a Bonus He’d Earned

Obviously, being a worker with duties that include the supervision and management of others is something that carries certain risks. One of those risks is that underperforming employees may become disgruntled at facing discipline for their deficiencies. One thing that shouldn’t be a risk of your job is being fired due to a false accusation lodged by a disgruntled subordinate. If that happens to you, you may have very good case for wrongful termination and the opportunity to recover very substantial amounts of compensation, so be sure to act promptly in retaining an experienced Oakland employment attorney.

The case of a bank vice president, and the multi-million dollar award he received, is a good illustration of what you can do… and how you can win. The employee, T.K., was a Sacramento-area senior vice president for a major national bank. In 2012, T.K. informed K.T., one of his subordinates, that he intended to place her on a “performance improvement plan,” which is a type of employment discipline against a worker with job-performance deficiencies.

Shortly after the vice president made the comment, K.T. complained to human resources about T.K.’s supposed gender discrimination and harassment. Less than two months later, the bank, having completed its investigation, fired T.K.

T.K. sued, alleging that the bank wrongfully terminated him. When you are pursuing a wrongful termination claim, one of the key types of evidence that can go a long way toward cementing your success is proof that addresses an underlying “why” question. For example, T.K. could have advanced a case that he was wrongfully terminated after a bogus discrimination assertion and an HR investigation that was clearly and unreasonably deficient.

Answering the ‘why’ question to strengthen your case for damages

However, a jury might find a plaintiff’s case more powerful if the employee’s presentation answers the question of why the bank used one bogus discrimination claim and a token investigation of that claim to fire its senior VP, especially if the answer to that “why” question involved evidence of ulterior motives. T.K. had that, presenting proof that he had earned a significant bonus and the bank was attempting to use the termination as a basis to deprive him of that bonus. This kind of evidence of a nefarious motive is particularly important when your case asks the jury to award you punitive damages on top of compensatory damages.

All of this evidence resonated with the jury, who awarded T.K. more than $15 million in punitive damages, on top of $8.6 million in compensatory damages. Although the appeals court later ruled that the punitive damages award was unconstitutionally large, it otherwise ruled in favor of T.K. and, even after this reduction, his revised damages award still stood at nearly $17.2 million.

When you’ve been wrongfully terminated due to a false allegation lodged by a subordinate, especially when that wrongful termination was the result intentional misconduct by your employer, you may be entitled to a very large sum of compensation, as your damages may include both compensatory and punitive awards. To make sure you are getting everything you deserve from your wrongful termination case, rely on the Law Office of Stephen M. Fuerch. Attorney Fuerch is a knowledgeable Oakland employment attorney whose extensive experience can help you maximize your success in your wrongful termination lawsuit. To learn more, contact us through our website or call our office at (925) 463-2575 to schedule your confidential initial consultation today.

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