Plaintiff began working for Defendant on or about March of 2003. Plaintiff began as a car sales person. By on or about November 1, 2007, Plaintiff was Defendant’s Finance Director at their Luxury Car Employees Cannot Afford dealership in San Fernando Valley. As the Finance Director, it was Plaintiff’s job to sell warranties, etchings, and protections to the customers and to explain the financing they were obtaining through the dealer.
As a commissioned Finance Director, and even before including when he was an automotive sales person, Plaintiff held a California Vehicle Sales Person License from the DMV which is required under California Vehicle Code Sections 675 and 11800 for any person involved in the sale of automobiles including warranties especially if the person earns a commission from the sale of the vehicle. In addition, Plaintiff’s license was subject to revocation under California Vehicle Code Section 11806 if he engaged in fraud, the dealer he worked for as a manager engaged in wrongful acts, or cause exists for revocation or discipline. Furthermore, under the California Vehicle Code Defendant was at all times herein mentioned a licensed car dealership for the purpose of sale and leasing.
On or about May 5, 2008, Plaintiff first uncovered information that Defendant, via their General Manager and Sales Manager, were engaging in fraud to customers in respect to selling used cars as new. In order to meet sales quotas Luxury Care Employees Cannot Afford set and/or to obtain money for selling a certain amount of cars, Defendant converted at least thirty to forty of their new vehicles to “Alternative Use” which reported on the books to Luxury Care Employees Cannot Afford that the car was sold to the dealership for the purpose of being loaner, demonstrator, or executive use cars. However, the cars were never registered with the DMV and not really sold. The cars were parked in an obscure part of the lot and then sold as new several months later. The harm this caused to customers was the warranty began activation at the time the cars were put into Alternative Use. The customers were deprived of part of the warranty period that was being represented and sold to them as part of the new car sale. In addition, Plaintiff was supposed to be selling extended warranties to customers. When Plaintiff tried to enter the extended warranty in the Luxury Car Employees Cannot Afford USA system, after he sold one for an Alternative Use vehicle sold as new, the computer would not let him. Defendant took the money for the extended warranty, but Luxury Care Employees Cannot Afford USA would have no record that the extended warranty was sold unless the status of the Alternative Vehicle was changed. In addition, new car financing was not available for the Alternative use vehicles and Defendant defrauded lenders, other than Luxury Care Employees Cannot Afford who would know the vehicle was not new, into believing that the cars were new so that new car financing could be obtained. In addition, MSRP stickers were left in the cars’ windows to deceive the customers into believing they were buying a new car. The customers were not in on the fraud described in this paragraph of this wrongful termination lawsuit as the cars were not sold at a significant discount price so as to alert the customers the cars were not new cars.
On or about May 5, 2008 Plaintiff and Eye Turning Manager, General Sales Manager, exchanged text messages. The first text message from Plaintiff read “You do know we cannot punch warranty and maintenance till the time expires. Netstar gives an “Alt Tran” status and error if you try to post warranty.” The message meant that the Luxury Care Employees Cannot Afford USA warranty computer would not let Plaintiff report the warranty extension information for the vehicle sold by Plaintiff that showed in the system as “alternate Transportation.”
Between on or about May 5, 2008 and May 18, 2008, Plaintiff told Eye Turning Manager that Plaintiff did not want to process cars as new if they had an alternative transportation status. Plaintiff had researched the issue and came to understand what alternative transportation meant in the Luxury Car Employees Cannot Afford computer system. Alternative Transportation was supposed to mean that the dealer purchased the vehicle, registered it with the DMV, and used the car as a loaner car, demonstrator, or executive vehicle. However, the Alternative Transportation cars at issue had never been registered with the DMV but had been sitting and were reported to Luxury Car Employees Cannot Afford USA as sold to Defendant for sometime and months of the Luxury Care Employees Cannot Afford factory warranty had expired. Plaintiff had also come to realize that extended warranties could not be purchased for the vehicles in question. Plaintiff also realized that new car stickers (MSRPs in the window) should not be on the alternative transportation vehicles. Finally, Plaintiff had come to realize that Director Supervisor had circulated lists of the Alternative Transport Vehicles so fraud could be perpetrated towards those vehicles which involved selling the cars as new after Defendant did not register the vehicles.
On or about May 18, 2008, Plaintiff and Director Supervisor once again texted on the issue of Alternate Transportation. Plaintiff told Eye Turning Manager that when the cars that had been sold for Alternative Transportation were sold, the buyers needed a buyers guide that is given when used cars are sold and that is a requirement by the State of California. Plaintiff also stated that the sales contract should state a used car is being purchased, and reported as a used sale car to the DMV. Eye Turning Manager responded by stating that there were two lists created and one of the lists had alternative transportation cars that were listed on it and the other did not. Plaintiff does not believe one of the lists had non-alternative transport as Plaintiff had been in the Luxury Care Employees Cannot Afford computer system in respect to these vehicles and they were showing up as alternative transport with warranties that had started and Plaintiff was unable to sell extended warranties for the cars because the system display indicated the cars were ineligible for extended warranties due to their alternative transportation status. On or about May 19, 2008, Eye Turning Manager sent Plaintiff an e-mail telling Plaintiff to make sure the contracts for the Alternative Transport cars stated that the cars were being sold as new cars and that the general manager of the dealership, Robert Milner was in agreement.
On or about May 10, 2008, Eye Turning Manager and Plaintiff engaged in a series of e-mails in which Plaintiff complained about Defendant’s illegal practices, referenced the law, and Eye Turning Manager got mad. In one of these e-mails, Eye Turning Manager responded to an e-mail Plaintiff sent by saying “Next time you email Corrupt Manager about sales will be the last.” On May 10, 2008, Plaintiff had sent Corrupt Manager an e-mail stating “It is very important we get this resolved, it is state compliance issue if we do not have stickers and buyers guide marked CERTIFIED on certified cars. I have a deal in my office and that car has no PRICE sticker but was on the lot, the only price sticker available is a RED tag, but we are selling the car certified. I am looking to eliminate this situation in the future.” Eye Turning Manager knew that Plaintiff was raising the issue that the car was being sold certified when it was not certified. On May 10, 2008 Plaintiff responded to a Eye Turning Manager e-mail by stating “Relax..we can discuss it…I am only trying to help keep us safe from possible disaster, if you are saying this is not my job then I really have a disconnect!” Eye Turning Manager then responded by telling Plaintiff, amongst other things, “If you think I don’t know the DMV laws we have a major disconnect…The cert sticker can be printed in Clinic Patients office,” and Eye Turning Manager tried to claim the cars did have buyers guides. Also that day, Plaintiff sent Eye Turning Manager an e-mail stating “We have no problem with writing up a buyers guide but DMV requires the buyers guide on all cars displayed on the lot, just looking out for the dealerships exposure as that is a hefty fine. The CERTIFIED price stickers are printed on special price stickers for certified cars and cannot be reprinted in fiance, besides printing the sticker the fact will not meet compliance if we got shopped. The CERTIFIED price sticker along with the buyers guide must be present on the car at the time the car is displayed on the lot.”
On May 10, 2008, after Plaintiff had sent many of the e-mails described in Paragraph 11 of this wrongful termination lawsuit and particularly the first one that was cc’d to Corrupt Manager, both Corrupt Manager and Eye Turning Manager approached Plaintiff and gave him a verbal warning. The issues of Alternative Transportation came up, and Plaintiff was told by Corrupt Manager that the car business was not black and white. Plaintiff said he was not going to be involved in anything that was illegal. Corrupt Manager looked at Eye Turning Manager and said “he just doesn’t get it.”
May 16, 2008, Plaintiff sent an e-mail to Eye Turning Manager that said he would not entertain deals for certified cars unless the certified paperwork was present. Eye Turning Manager first responded by saying the deal should not conclude until the certified paperwork was available, but Plaintiff could chat up the customer while the paperwork was being prepared which was absurd given the length of time a Luxury Care Employees Cannot Afford Certification takes and the fact that multiple parts might have to be replaced to certify the car. Plaintiff then sent an e-mail to Eye Turning Manager that said he had confirmed that prior to contracts being signed, the law required an inspection report to be furnished to the buyer before the buyer signed the sales contract. In fact, before the dealer even advertised the vehicle as Certified, the certification procedure was supposed to be complete. Eye Turning Manager responded by saying, amongst other things, “Why do you continue to be difficult and reach past me?” Plaintiff responded by saying “I want to follow the law and high road I went to school for it for darn sake.”
Beginning in approximately January of 2008, Plaintiff began complaining to Eye Turning Manager that customers were being told there was no charge for certain things he sold them such as surface protectors and window etchings when there was a charge. Basically, the charge was hidden in the finance contract and not disclosed. Eye Turning Manager laughed off these 10-12 complaints and told Plaintiff it was part of the Sonic requirements to charge the customers for these things, but not to specifically disclose the fact they were being charged and to misled them into believing they were not being charged.
Plaintiff was terminated July 26, 2008 for pretextual reasons including the May 10, 2008 verbal warning he received which was basically a warning to keep his mouth shut, stop complaining of Defendant’s illegal behavior, and definitely not go above Eye Turning Manager’s head on these issues.
CASE RESULT: CONFIDENTIAL SETTLEMENT WORTH ABOUT $90,000 IN 2014 DOLLARS
Plaintiff began working for the corporate Defendants on or about January 1, 1999 as a licensed hair stylist in said Defendants’ research and development unit where he was testing the corporate Defendants’ new products on black models.
Soon into Plaintiff’s employment, he realized that said Defendants were testing an unsafe product on their models. This product was supposed to be a hair relaxer. However, it typically burned off the models’ hair and caused them extreme pain. Many of these models requested that this relaxer not be used on them.
During Plaintiff’s employment with the corporate Defendants, Plaintiff was told by his management to lie to the models he was servicing and tell them that the hair relaxer was conditioner, lotion, or something other than the relaxer the models knew had burned off their hair in the past, caused them extreme pain, and which they said they did not want used on them. Continuing to apply the product after such statements amounted to non-consensual battery of the patients in a manner that was injuring them and causing them pain. Additionally, the testing was being done in a fraudulent manner by lying to the models about what was being put in their hair when they specifically rescinded consent for the relaxer to be put in their hair.
On or about January of 2001, Plaintiff began investigating what his obligations were to continuously apply the relaxer product to the models, especially, under said Defendants’ instructions that he was supposed to lie to the models and not tell them that he was applying this product that they had previously asked him not to apply because it was burning off their hair and hurting them. This inquiry included Plaintiff calling the State Board that licenses Plaintiff. They told Plaintiff that he was not obligated to apply the product if it was harming clients. On or about January 15, 2001, Plaintiff called Cal-OSHA. At that point, dishonest Co-worker, the Director of Research and development at said Defendants, and Plaintiff’s manager, told Plaintiff “we’re going to HR to get you fired.” Plaintiff was trying to call Cal-OSHA because he thought they were the appropriate government agency to report such a safety issue to. After this incident, Plaintiff was retaliated against for complaining to governmental agencies about suspected illegal practices by being placed on administrative leave.
Also on or about January 15, 2001, Plaintiff spoke to Slick Boss, CEO and Chairman, of the corporate Defendants. Plaintiff explained that he thought he was being retaliated against for calling OSHA and complaining to the Defendants’ corporate management that he was being asked to fraudulently and deceitfully apply a harmful hair relaxer to models who did not want it applied because it had burned off their hair in the past.
As alleged in Paragraph 12 of the whistleblower lawsuit, Plaintiff called both Cal-OSHA and the State Board that licenses him as a cosmologist. Plaintiff alleges that he made these calls because he reasonably believed the State Board that licensed him could answer his question as to whether, as a licensed cosmetologist, Plaintiff was obligated, at his employer’s direction, to put a painful hair relaxer on his models when the models specifically told him they did not want the hair relaxer on them, and it was burning off their hair and causing them pain especially if there was an issue with the models being mislead as to whether such a product was being applied. Plaintiff contends that the Board did give him an answer. Plaintiff contends that he called Cal-OSHA because he reasonably believed that the product he was testing might be dangerous to himself as well as the models being that it was burning off their hair, leaving bald spots, and causing the patients severe pain. Plaintiff further thought that Cal-OSHA would have information about whether a product was safe for use on human beings. Plaintiff alleges that his managers and supervisors became aware that he had made both calls.
The Plaintiff alleges that because he made the calls to the State Board and Cal-OSHA, the corporate Defendants and their managers and supervisors decided that Plaintiff should be terminated, put on leave, and otherwise retaliated against. Plaintiff contends that such retaliatory action was the corporate Defendants’ adoption and enforcement of a policy that had the effect of preventing the Plaintiff from disclosing information to the government when the Plaintiff had reasonable cause to believe that the information disclosed a violation of laws these governmental agencies cared about.
Plaintiff is informed, believes, and based thereon, alleges that the corporate Defendants terminated the Plaintiff in violation of public policy by terminating Plaintiff due to his complaints that violate the following statutes that effect society at large, for the following reasons:
a. Plaintiff had been consistently complaining to management that he did not want to use a product on his models that was burning off their hair especially when they specifically did not give consent for that product to be used. Plaintiff contends that this lack of consent constituted a battery under California Penal Code Section 242 because it was the use of force in the application of chemicals that Plaintiff was not authorized to apply to the patients. Plaintiff further contends that it was a fraudulent violation of California Civil Code Section 1710 to tell the models that he was not applying the relaxer they did not want on their hair, but that he was applying conditioner, lotion, or some other substance. Plaintiff further contends that this deceptive process had the effect of battering the models and was a violation of California Business and Professions Code Section 17200 because the Defendants’ competitors did not use false and deceptive means of applying dangerous, bad products to their models, without their models’ consent, that had the effect of burning off their hair, perhaps permanently, and causing them grave physical pain and discomfort;
b. California Labor Code Section 1102.5 because the corporate Defendants terminated Plaintiff for complaining to the State Board of Cosmetology and Cal-OSHA about what Plaintiff reasonably believed to be violations of the law;
c. the California Fair Employment and Housing Section Act Sections 12900, et. seq. which prohibits the discrimination, harassment, retaliation, and termination of employees based upon their race;
d. Title II, Division IV of the California Code of Regulations regarding the California Fair Employment and Housing act which makes race discrimination and harassment unlawful;
e. Article I, Section VIII of the California Constitution which race discrimination and harassment;
f. California Government Code Section 12940(h) which prohibits the retaliation, discrimination, and termination of employees who complain of forbidden discriminatory practices under the FEHA;
g. violations of the Cosmetology and Barbering Act known as California Business and Professions Code Section 7300, Et. Seq. because Plaintiff complained that the corporate Defendants had employees who were performing the sort of service listed in Section 7316 for which a license is required, and Section 7317 which makes it is a misdemeanor to perform such services without a license, and because Plaintiff believed that he was performing unsafe services that were hazardous and harmful to his clients;
h. all other state and federal statutes, regulations, administrative orders, and ordinances which effect society at large, and which discovery will reveal were violated.
CASE RESULT: THE WHISTLEBLOWING EMPLOYEE DIED UNDER MYSTERIOUS CIRCUMSTANCES WHICH WERE INVESTIGATED BY A SPECIAL DEPARTMENT OF THE POLICE DEPARTMENT