San Francisco, CA (Law Firm Newswire) July 13, 2018 – A man sued his employer for wrongful termination after he was allegedly fired in retaliation for complaining that the company was defrauding Alameda County in California through improper billing practices.
Alton Elmore filed a lawsuit against his employer KRA Corporation and Pamela Carnes, KRA’s program manager, in Alameda County Superior Court on March 19. Elmore worked for KRA as a business services consultant for more than two years until he was fired on October 26, 2017. His job duties included assisting Alameda businesses with recruitment services and educating them about hiring local employees under KRA’s Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act Contract with the county.
According to the complaint, Carnes forced Elmore and other KRA employees to spend a large portion of their regular work hours selling the services of Legal Shield, an unrelated business where Carnes worked on the side. They were told to attend a mandatory Legal Shield seminar and sales training. The hours for both events were billed to Alameda County in violation of KRA’s contract.
In September 2017, Elmore complained to KRA management and human resources, expressing his concerns about Carnes prioritizing Legal Shield over his regular job duties and using improper billing practices for the work. The company allegedly ignored Elmore’s request to return to full-time KRA duties rather than spending several days per week working for Legal Shield.
“It is illegal for an employer to fire an employee for retaliatory reasons because he or she complained about their illegal conduct,” said attorney Jason M. Erlich of McCormack & Erlich, a San Francisco-based employment law firm. Erlich is representing Elmore. “In this case, Mr. Elmore was fired despite having consistently received positive performance reviews. Fortunately, California law protects the rights of employees and allows them to pursue compensation for wrongful termination and retaliation.”
Once Carnes became aware of Elmore’s complaints about her alleged unlawful conduct, she started retaliating against him until he was eventually fired for poor performance. Carnes issued Elmore a written warning falsely stating that a customer complained about his job performance and that he had filled out his timecard incorrectly. Prior to his complaints about Legal Shield, Elmore had received only positive work performance reviews during his employment with KRA.
The lawsuit also alleged defamation, accusing Carnes of harming Elmore’s reputation by telling customers, coworkers and others that he was an incompetent employee. Elmore is seeking damages for lost earnings, benefits and emotional distress, as well as punitive damages and reinstatement to his job.
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