The California Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA) protects employees from discrimination, retaliation, and harassment on the basis of their race, religious creed, color, national origin, ancestry, physical disability, mental disability, medical condition, genetic information, martial status, sex, gender, gender identity, gender expression, age, sexual orientation, or veteran or military status.
March 18, 2020
Former WNBA General Manager Claims Wrongful Termination
Many of California’s middle managers serve as liaisons between company executives and employees as part of their duties. They are often responsible for taking complaints of wrongdoing to the appropriate people within an organization for investigation and resolution, but some do so at the risk of losing their jobs. In fact, Penny Toler, a former WNBA general manager, claims she was the victim of wrongful termination when she filed complaints on behalf of players and others.
Toler made complaints about a coach using racial epithets and engaging in “sexually predatory conduct” against players, but she claims her complaints fell on deaf ears. She also alleges that the former team president blocked the trade of a player because the woman was her friend. In addition, she claims to have knowledge of an affair between executives high in the organization. She goes on to say that none of these allegations was ever investigated. Instead, she was fired.
Toler, who served as general manager of the Los Angeles Sparks for nearly 20 years, filed a lawsuit against the WNBA alleging wrongful termination, breach of contract, retaliation and more. It will be up to the courts to determine the veracity of her claims. If it turns out her claims are true, the complaints she made may finally be investigated.
When employees come forward as Toler did without thought for their own employment and financial security, they should not be subjected to wrongful termination, retaliation or any other negative consequences. California workers, supervisors and managers should have the freedom to speak up when they see wrongdoing or others suffering at the hands of their superiors or co-workers without the fear of reprisal. Sadly, it does happen, but that does not mean that those brave individuals forfeit their rights or avenues of legal recourse.
How many times have you wondered if you’re getting paid your fair share? Do you think you’re underpaid because of your race, sex, gender, disability, or even your prior salary history?
If you cannot work because you’re injured/sick or you need to care for a qualifying family member, eligible employees (those who worked more than 1,250 hours in the year prior for an employer with 5 or more employees) are eligible for up to 12 weeks of Family and Medical Leave (FMLA) and/or California Family Rights Act protected Leave (CFRA).