$2.5 million to two bank employees for wrongful termination, discrimination. Los Angeles County.

Summary

Plaintiff employees experience age and ethnicity discrimination from two higher-ups. When one employee rats out supervisor for falsifying data, retaliation follows in the form of termination.

The Case

  • Case Name: Nimet Behar, et al. v. Union Bank, et al.
  • Court and Case Number: Los Angeles Superior Court - Stanley Mosk/ BC 427 993
  • Date of Verdict or Judgment: Monday, April 08, 2013
  • Date Action was Filed: Sunday, December 13, 2009
  • Type of Action: Employment, Wrongful Termination
  • Judge or Arbitrator(s): Hon. Abraham Khan
  • Plaintiffs:
    Nimet Behar, 49
    Clorinda Greek, 63
  • Defendants:
    Union Bank
  • Type of Result: Jury Verdict

The Result

  • Gross Verdict or Award: $2,563,630. The jury determined that plaintiffs never invested directly with their bank customer's business.
  • Economic Damages:

    Nimet Behar: $801,608

    Clorinda Greek: $187,022

  • Non-Economic Damages:

    Nimet Behar: $800,000

    Clorinda Greek: $775,000

  • Trial or Arbitration Time: 19 days
  • Jury Deliberation Time: 5 days
  • Jury Polls: 9 in favor of plaintiffs, 3 in favor of defense
  • Post Trial Motions & Post-Verdict Settlements: Motion for Attorneys' Fees

The Attorneys

  • Attorney for the Plaintiff:
    Shegerian & Associates by Carney R. Shegerian, Santa Monica.
    Urbanic & Associates by James Urbanic, Los Angeles.
  • Attorney for the Defendant:
    Sheppard Mullin Richter & Hampton LLP by Tracey Kennedy and Matthew Tobias, Los Angeles.

The Experts

  • Plaintiff’s Medical Experts:
    Craig Snyder, Ph.D, retained psychologist, Beverly Hills
    Chun Ryu, M.D., non-retained psychiatrist, Santa Ana
  • Defendant's Medical Experts:
    Anthony Reading, Ph.D., psychology, Beverly Hills

Facts and Background

  • Facts and Background:

    Nimet Behar, a 49-year-old woman at the time of the incident, worked for defendant bank for four years, from November 23, 2005 through September 16, 2009, as a priority banking manager. 

    Clorinda Greek, a 63-year-old woman at the time of the incident, worked for defendant bank for 13 years, from June 24, 1996 through September 16, 2009, as a priority banking associate. 

    In mid-July of 2009, plaintiff Behar told the bank branch manager that her immediate supervisor was falsifying numbers in order to be eligible for a larger percentage of a bonus pool.  Plaintiff's branch manager agreed to meet with Behar, then at the last minute told Behar that the supervisor would also be at the meeting.  The supervisor was very angry at the falsification accusation.  After that, her attitude toward Behar changed, and she became very nitpicky and demanding. 

    In September of 2009, defendants terminated Behar and Greek,  stating that they violated company policy by allegedly investing in a bank customer’s business, violating Union Bank's policy against conflicts of interest.  The incident in question had happened more than two years before Behar and Greek were fired.  Additionally, management had been aware of the investment at issue for at least two years.

  • Plaintiff's Contentions:

    That the defendant bank's branch manager as well as the immediate supervisor of plaintiffs engaged in discriminatory  behavior toward plaintiffs. The branch manager made it clear that he preferred to work with Persian employees (Ms. Greek was born in Nicaragua and Ms. Behar was born and raised in Cyprus). That their direct supervisor said, “I like training young people” and their branch manager said, “I want younger sales people, they are hungry.”

    That at all times, plaintiffs performed their duties in an exemplary manner and were never written up or otherwise disciplined.

    That defendants discriminated, harassed and retaliated against them based on their ages, national origins and ancestries, wrongfully terminated them in violation of public policy and caused the plaintiffs to engage in self-defamation (by forcing plaintiffs to repeat the false pretense given for their termination to other potential employers), all of which resulted in harm to plaintiffs.

  • Defendant's Contentions:

    Defendants deny all of plaintiffs’ allegations and damages. Defendants deny that any action on their behalf was taken illegally, and likewise deny that plaintiffs suffered the damages.

Injuries and Other Damages

  • Emotional distress.

Disclaimer

This is not an official court document. While the publisher believes the information to be accurate, the publisher does not guarantee it and the reader is advised not to rely upon it without consulting the official court documents or the attorneys of record in this matter who are listed above.

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