A controversial employment law case involving prominent film company Lucasfilm has taken yet another legal turn as the wrongful termination suit was remanded to a lower court for further consideration. The plaintiff’s attorneys are seeking review from the California Supreme Court in the case, which involves a woman who was allegedly fired from her job because she was pregnant.
The case dates back to 2009, when the woman had applied for an estate manager job at the San Anselmo home of “Star Wars” creator George Lucas. Estate managers generally oversee the details of basic home management, directing cleaning staff and other assistants as needed. They also assist with fundamental aspects of event planning, maintenance and other facilities management issues.
The 36-year-old woman said she was hired but never started working for Lucas. She claims that she was terminated from the position because she was pregnant. Attorneys for the production company have responded with additional accusations, saying the woman was unsuitable for the position because of her attitude. The woman is also accused of hiding her pregnancy in order to receive company health benefits.
Media reports show that the woman had initially sought financial compensation for wrongful termination, retaliation and failure to accommodate a disability. An initial court ruling had discarded all but the wrongful termination case. Jurors in that trial reportedly were given incorrect instructions, which opened the door for a Lucasfilm appeal. Jurors in that case endured a lengthy trial with more than 20 witnesses.
After this, it appears that the case will move on to the Supreme Court for further review. If the current decision is allowed to stand, it will cause significant confusion about the interpretation of the state’s Fair Employment and Housing Act, according to legal experts. The appellate decision reportedly conflicts with several other employment law guidelines. In other words, this case is important not only for the plaintiff, but also for the clarification of future suits in the state.
Source: The Oakland Tribune, “Lucasfilm pregnancy discrimination case appealed to state Supreme Court,” Gary Kilen, Jan. 21, 2013.