Glendale settles with ex-employee who says he was fired for union stance

A Glendale employee who claims he was wrongfully fired for promoting a new union has settled with the city for $29,000.

After being terminated in May 2010, Anthony Carbajal filed a wrongful termination lawsuit, claiming he was fired because of his strong support of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 18, a Los Angeles group that at the time was pushing to represent Glendale Water & Power workers.

The IBEW and the city have since clashed over a new labor contract, with Glendale electrical workers and their Los Angeles counterparts protesting outside City Hall. The IBEW recently rejected a proposed city contract.

Carbajal’s attorney, David Klehm, said his client was a vocal leader in the movement as he tried to drum up support for the IBEW — making him a political target at City Hall.

But the city maintains Carbajal was terminated “based on legitimate business reasons and that there was no discrimination or retaliation,” City Atty. Mike Garcia said in an email.

Neither Garcia nor Klehm would describe why officials were investigating employee overtime in 2009.

Klehm said Carbajal has taken another electricity-related job and due to his employment, he was willing to settle for less.

“He wanted to mitigate his damages,” Klehm said in a phone interview. “He wasn’t trying to milk the city.”

Garcia said the city settled the case, which was set to go to trial in November, to save money.

“The city settled at [an] early stage of the litigation for a small amount in order to save the time and avoid the costs and risks associated with litigation,” he said.


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