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Transit Worker Sues for Wrongful Termination

A man who was hired by Pierce Transit in California's neighboring Washington is seeking financial compensation through a wrongful termination suit. The man is alleging that he was wrongfully fired after the company learned of his previous criminal record, which included a series of break-ins and license revocations dating back more than a decade.

The man had been a contracts manager for the state of Washington's Liquor Control Board before he was hired by the transit company. He had been working for Pierce for about a month when he was sent home on administrative leave after the company uncovered information about his criminal record. Administrators said they had conducted background checks prior to hiring the man, but standard reviews did not reveal his prior convictions.

Attorneys for the man say that he has overcome his criminal proclivities, many of which involved drug and alcohol-related activities. The company had already vetted the man before hiring him, so officials should not have been permitted to terminate his employment. The man did not falsify any information on his employment application, but company administrators still contend that his criminal record could compromise his ability to perform his job duties in the finance division.

The man has been unemployed since he was fired because his previous job had already been filled. He was hired by Pierce Transit in May 2012. Attorneys for the man say he was the victim of unfair hiring practices; he should have been given the opportunity to redeem himself despite his previous indiscretions.

The company could be required to reinstate the man into his previous position if the civil suit is successful. Alternatively, a judge or jury could compel the company to pay the plaintiff for lost income, wages and benefits. It is not clear how much money the man is seeking in connection with the civil suit. The suit was filed in Pierce County Superior Court in late March, according to media reports.

Source: The News Tribune, "Fired former worker sues Pierce Transit," Adam Lynn, April 1, 2013

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