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Employer to Pay Punitive Damages for Firing Saleswoman with Cancer

May 6, 2021


A California appeals court affirmed the award of $500,000 in punitive damages to the children of an employee who was fired after being diagnosed with cancer.

The employee had sued her former employer for firing her in violation of public policy, but she died during the first trial. The trial court then substituted her three children as plaintiffs in the lawsuit and, in a second trial, found that the employer fired the employee due to her medical condition and awarded her $15,000 in economic damages—to compensate her for money she had lost to the employer’s conduct—and $500,000 in punitive damages, which are meant to punish the employer for egregious conduct.

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