Jan 12 (Reuters) - The California Labor Commissioner is
suing a prominent workplace-discrimination law firm in Los
Angeles, alleging that it fired an employee after she told the
firm that she had been called to serve on a jury.
Filed on Tuesday, the lawsuit alleges that Martin & Martin
fired receptionist Marla Osorio on the day that she told the
firm that she had been impaneled to serve on a state court
jury. The suit alleges that the law firm violated state labor
laws prohibiting unlawful retaliation.
Martin & Martin managing partner Areva Martin is a labor
and employment plaintiffs' attorney, who has made numerous
televison appearances on such shows as Anderson Cooper 360 and
The Dr. Phil Show to discuss employment and disability
discrimination issues. According to its website, the firm has
Reached by phone on Thursday, Ms. Martin said that she had
not seen the lawsuit and was unable to comment.
According to the complaint, Osorio was summoned for jury
duty in April 2006 but was directed by the law firm's human
resources manager to try and postpone it. The court rescheduled
her service for June, when Osorio was selected as part of a
panel and told to return in July. When Osorio explained to the
law firm manager that she had to go back in July, she was
fired, the commissioner asserts.
Attached to Tuesday's lawsuit is a 2009 determination by
the California Department of Industrial Relations, which found
that the law firm had violated state labor laws. It directed
the firm to reinstate Osorio to her position and to reimburse
her for lost pay.
Martin & Martin appealed the determination, according to
Tuesday's lawsuit, and lost that appeal in June. The firm has
not complied with the department's determination, the complaint
Representing the labor commissioner is attorney David
Balter, with the California Department of Industrial Relations,
Division of Labor Standards Enforcement. He did not return a
phone call seeking comment.
The case is Labor Commissioner v. Martin & Martin, No. BC
476695, Los Angeles Superior Court, Central District.
For the Labor Commissioner: David Balter, California
Department of Industrial Relations, San Francisco.
For the firm: Not immediately available.
(Reporting by Leigh Jones)
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