(Please note: the names and locations of all parties have been changed to protect the confidentiality of the participants in this employment discrimination/personal injury case and its proceedings.)
EQUAL PAY ACT CLAIM
While Ms. Church worked for Kaiser, she suffered wage discrimination as defined by the state and federal Equal Pay Acts. Ms. Church’s salary was very low for her position. Many others in her position were managers but she was refused that title. Plaintiff alleges that the male hired in her prior position shortly after she asked to be transferred to Sacramento was paid $6,000 more a year than she was in that same position.
Kaiser argues that the reason for the pay discrepancy was the male employee’s greater qualifications but Ms. Church will testify that the qualifications which actually applied to the job in question were equal; it was the pay that was different.
At the time that Ms. Church was terminated, she was not permitted to take numerous binders of material which belonged to her. This property consisted of numerous documents regarding her personal research into compliance issues and represented numerous hours of personal work. Ms. Church later learned that Mr. White callously discarded this personal property belonging to her. In his deposition Mr. White suggested that the material might still exist in his office but Kaiser still has not returned the binders to Ms. Church. The discarding or wrongful retention of Ms. Church’s material without permission constitutes conversion:
Conversion is the wrongful exercise of dominion over the property of another. The elements of a conversion claim are: (1) the plaintiff’s ownership or right to possession of the property; (2) the defendant’s conversion by a wrongful act or disposition of property rights; and (3) damages. Conversion is a strict liability tort.
The foundation of the action rests neither in the knowledge nor the intent of the defendant. Instead, the tort consists in the breach of an absolute duty; the act of conversion itself is tortious. Therefore, questions of the defendant’s good faith, lack of knowledge, and motive are ordinarily immaterial. (Burlesci v. Petersen (1998) 68 Cal.App.4th 1062, 1066.)
At trial, Ms. Church will be seeking the cost of replacement based on the hundreds of hours necessary to locate and print all of the material stolen by Kaiser, as well as punitive damages related to Mr. White’s and Kaiser’s callous act of either discarding or keeping the binders.
LABOR CODE SECTION 1050 CLAIM
Subsequent to Ms. Church’s termination, in violation of Labor Code Section 1050, Mr. White falsely stated to a reference checker that Ms. Church had been terminated because she wasn’t getting along with people, evidence that Mr. White has been making false statements to other potential employers, thereby preventing Ms. Church from obtaining employment. (See Part 11 of 11.)
For more information you are welcome to contact Sacramento personal injury lawyer, Moseley Collins.