Seven former City of Pasadena employees have filed a $9.8 million wrongful termination lawsuit, according to the Pasadena Star-News. According to the filed claim, City Manager Michael Beck, Mayor Bill Bogaard and 5 other city officials were fired without cause and due process. The plaintiffs’ attorney, Stephen Horvath, claims the officials were terminated due to the city’s fiscal concerns, particularly the long-term pension costs. Horvath also alluded to some political reasons for the termination of the city officials.
“I think there are a number of reasons,” said Horvath. “One is these employees are senior level management and there is a significant long-term savings to be had on their pensions. I think they also have a union that has started to assert its rights in requesting documentation in the city’s decision making.”
The terminated employees were denied due process in accordance with California’s open meeting law. Pasadena has had declining tax revenue in recent years due to the sluggish economy.
“The city’s stated budgetary reasons do not genuinely justify the layoff imposed,” the claim reads. “The city’s assertion of a budget crisis is suspect because there is no hiring freeze and vacant positions are being filled.”
It seems as though the city will need to provide just cause for terminating the employees without just cause.
“These were good employees, it was a very difficult decision,” Beck said. “in the end it’s difficult to release any employee, but we have to admit our budgetary issues were so severe that we had to take such a critical action.”
If you feel you were terminated without due process or just cause, or for an illegal or unethical reason, call an experienced attorney for a consultation immediately.
Kesluk, Silverstein & Jacob—Los Angeles employment law attorneys