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  • Sharon Stone Calls Wrongful Termination Suit Frivolous

    Sharon Stone, the actress famous for her roles in movies such as Basic Instinct and Casino, has a new role to play; defendant.

    Stone hired Erlinda Elemen as a live-in nanny to care for her children in 2006.  Elemen worked for Stone for over four years but in early 2011 she was fired. In a recently filed wrongful termination and harassment suit, Elemen claims that Stone fired her because she refused to give back over-time wages paid for working over holidays and while traveling with the children. Elemen further stated that Stone told her that to accept the overtime pay was illegal. And when Elemen refused to return the money, Stone accused her of “stealing,” docked her pay and cut her hours. A few weeks after Elemen approached Stone about this treatment, she was fired.

    Elemen’s attorney has pointed out the irony: many household employers violate overtime wages laws, but here; Stone, who was in compliance with that law, fired Elemen for accepting her rightful pay.

    In general, employment contracts that do not have a specified end date are deemed “at will.” To prove wrongful termination of an “at will” contract in California, is not easily done. The plaintiff must prove that the firing was illegal under the FEHA (Fair Employment and Housing Act) or other statute, or that it violates public policy under the common law. A wrongful termination lawyer in Santa Ana can determine whether the reason for a firing was illegal under these laws.

    Elemen did seek and was granted approval to sue Stone from the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing under the FEHA.

    Elemen has also accused Stone of harassment during the last six months of her employment, all based on her racial background and religious beliefs. In her complaint, Elemen alleges that Stone would frequently make racial slurs directed at Elemen’s Filipino heritage and equate being Filipino with being stupid.  Elemen also claims that Stone was “dismissive” about her deeply felt religious beliefs and disallowed reading of the bible while in Stone’s house, even though she lived there.

    In Elemen’s case, there are two forums hearing the suit, the Superior Court of Los Angeles and the media.

    Defending herself to the media, Stone has come out to publically label the suit as frivolous and “absurd.” She also describes Elemen as “disgruntled.” Stone suggests that Elemen is merely looking for another big money pay out any way she can get it, citing claims by Elemen for worker’s compensation and disability filed after she was fired.  The amount of damages sought by Elemen in this suit are unspecified, so just how big a “pay out” she is looking for is currently unclear.

    Stone expects to be vindicated in court. Stay tuned.

    While celebrity employers often use the public arena to paint ex-employees as disgruntled, exploitative and money hungry, they are still subject to the same employment laws as everyone else. If you or anyone you know has been fired for inappropriate reasons, by a celebrity or otherwise, a wrongful termination lawyer in Santa Ana (http://www.employmentlawlawyers.com/wrongful-termination-lawyer-santa-ana/) can help you evaluate your rights.