Nicollette Sheridan, star of ABC’s hit television show Desperate Housewives, filed a lawsuit claiming the show’s creator hit her in the face on the set and that she was then fired in retaliation for complaining about him, “resulting in her losing millions in future earnings.” Sheridan, whose character was killed off the show last year, is suing for $20 million, alleging assault and battery, gender violence and wrongful termination. She claims series creator Marc Cherry created a hostile work environment, “behaving in an extremely abusive and aggressive manner.” An amended complaint has been filed in the Los Angeles County Superior Court, alleging for the first time that the network investigated her claim of physical abuse on the set and told her that it was merely a “light tap on the side of the head” and that she should go back to work and finish the season “in the spirit of professionalism.” Sheridan was fired two months later. Full Article
In California, as in New York, employees are presumed to be “at will.” At-will employees may be terminated for any reason, so long as it is not illegal. Generally, employees that work under an employment contract can only be terminated for reasons specified in the contract. However, an employer may not fire an employee in retaliation for filing a complaint. In Sheridan’s case, ABC will be found at fault if Sheridan can prove that her termination was a direct result of her complaining about the show’s creator. It is important to consult with an attorney to preserve your rights if you are experiencing discrimination or violence in the workplace, and especially if you believe you have been wrongfully terminated from your job.
Leeds Morelli & Brown, PC is a nationally recognized firm in the area of employment law. Our firm has had considerable success in matters of employment discrimination throughout Long Island and the New York City area. For more information, contact Leeds, Morelli and Brown, PC at 1-800-585-4658 for a free consultation.