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Wrongful termination case reinstated on appeal

The case of a former Wells Fargo Bank employee from California is moving forward after a federal appeals court panel reinstated her wrongful termination claim. The former loan officer at the major bank had filed her case after she was dismissed from her job as a loan officer at the bank while she was on leave after giving birth to her child. She alleged that Wells Fargo engaged in discrimination and retaliation, violated the California Family Rights Act and that her dismissal was directly related to these discriminatory practices.

Initially, the U.S. District Court in Pasadena dismissed her claims, granting summary judgment in favor of the bank. While the appeals court ruled that several of the former employee’s claims for failure to promote could not move forward, it reinstated her wrongful termination complaint. The appeals court panel that heard the case found in favor of the former employee in a 2-1 ruling.

The bank argued that the woman’s dismissal did not come about due to discriminatory reasons but rather because of changes in the market and a decline in business with an accompanying force reduction. In order to support its claim, Wells Fargo submitted a document called a “business case,” which was created three days before the employee was terminated. The former employee argued in response that there was no actual decrease in business nor a market downturn, disputing the “business case” and arguing that it presented no evidence for its claims. While the court noted that evidence on both sides was weak, it maintained that there was a genuine issue of fact to be decided in further legal proceedings.

When individuals lose their jobs due to unlawful discrimination, they could have a claim for wrongful termination. An employment lawyer can work with people who have been subjected to discriminatory treatment or unfairly dismissed seek justice and compensation for the harms they have suffered.