LOS ANGELES, Nov. 5, 2018 /PRNewswire/ — Earlier this week, Kourtney Liggins, a former Catholic school teacher, was awarded $3.75 million in a verdict against the Archdiocese of Los Angeles for wrongful termination. A Los Angeles Supreme Court Jury also awarded Liggins $87,000 in punitive damages against Archdiocese’s Father Michael Tang.
A former educator at the Archdiocese of Los Angeles, Liggins claims that she was unjustly terminated in 2013 due to her complaints of unlawful and mismanaged conduct. Furthermore, Liggins alleges that she suffered from an intentional infliction of emotional distress from Pastor of Transfiguration, Father Michael Tang.
In her wrongful termination lawsuit, Liggins alleged that she was retaliated against for complaining about conduct taking place within the church that she believed was illegal. Liggins, a single mother of six, asserts that issues first arose after she was forced to return early from maternity leave. Liggins claimed that Father Michael Tang, the pastor of the popular Roman Catholic church and school in Leimert Park, discriminated against her for being pregnant out of wedlock before putting into a motion a series of false and illegal accusations that led to her termination.
Liggins asserts that Father Tang singled her out for becoming pregnant out of wedlock, going so far as to call her baby an “it” despite knowing the baby’s gender. Shortly after returning from her abbreviated maternity leave, Liggins faced false accusations of poor teaching performance despite receiving no criticism or complaints prior to her pregnancy. Liggins alleged that Father Tang purposefully manipulated her personnel file to included fabricated parent complaints in an effort to oust the single mother from the position and school she had taught at since 1998.
Prior to her termination, Liggins claims that she raised complaints about her treatment to Human Resources, who failed to take action. Unable to receive the assistance she needed from Human Resources, Liggins proceeded to bring her complaints directly to the Bishop José Horacio Gómez who told her to “pray on it.”
Since her unexpected termination in 2013, Liggins claims that she has been unable to find a comparable job and has essentially been precluded from doing so because of the emotional distress she suffered from Archdiocese’s and Father Tang’s actions.
“Ms. Liggins is extremely brave for standing up for what she believed in,” says one of Liggins’ attorneys, Anthony Nguyen of Shegerian & Associates, Inc. “It [ this case] was one of the most difficult things that she has had to do, and she has paid severely for it, but hopefully today’s verdictwill give her the vindication that she needs to move on to a new chapter in her life.”
Every day, employees are subjected to workplace discrimination, harassment, retaliation, and other forms of abuse. Shegerian & Associates prides itself on representing these workers and helping them find the justice they deserve. Carney Shegerian has been recognized with the 2013 Trial Lawyer of the Year Award and has won 80 jury trials, fighting for workers rights.
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