Carney Shegerian, an employee rights attorney and founder of Shegerian & Associates, a Santa Monica-based litigation law firm representing employees, obtained a discrimination jury verdict Monday for $3,500,000 in favor of his client, Martha Palma, in the downtown Los Angeles Superior Court.
Shegerian’s client worked for Rite Aid for over 24 years in various positions, most recently as store manager at Rite Aid’s Los Angeles store in Highland Park. Palma was recognized as a very hard, honest and dedicated worker for years. Just months after she was diagnosed with a non-work related serious disability in late 2010, Palma was fired. Palma filed claims for disability discrimination, retaliation for complaining of discrimination and harassment, harassment and failure to engage in the interactive process through attorney Shegerian and co-counsel James Urbanic, Esq. The jury found in her favor on each of these civil rights claims and awarded her just over $3.5 million.
During trial, Palma testified that Rite Aid treated her differently and terminated her because of the stigma related to employees with disabilities. She testified that despite being able to perform her job duties, the defendant never tried to discuss accommodations with her, instead manufacturing a false reason to terminate her over – and then fired her.
Shegerian argued the law prohibits the actions taken by Rite Aid, a position the jury sided with. “So many corporations completely ignore the rights of the disabled nowadays. They see such employees as creating inefficiencies and costing them at the bottom line. They see these employees as a liability and treat them like a widget that they can discard because of their physical problems. They categorically discriminate against these people as a result and violate the law in doing so,” Shegerian notes.
An experienced trial attorney, Shegerian has tried many jury trials to verdict in both state and federal court, always representing individuals that have suffered financial or emotional losses and have been wronged by employers, including major corporations. Shegerian has built a remarkable career on helping those who have been wronged in the workplace. He remains undefeated in federal jury trials and has won 22 seven figure verdicts representing employees.
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