Key Decisions

August 2013 – To Sue For Wrongful Termination, One Must First Be An Employee

(filed under: Key Decisions | August 16, 2013)

To Sue For Wrongful Termination, One Must First Be An Employee

Estrada v. City of Los Angeles
(Cal. Ct. of App., 2d Dist.), filed July 24, 2013, published July 24, 2013

Frank Estrada was a reserve police officer for the City of Los Angeles, which is a volunteer position. Even though reserve police officers are not employees, they are treated as employees for purposes of workers’ compensation. That way, if one is injured “on the job,” he or she will be compensated for his or her injuries.

The City terminated Estrada’s position as a reserve police officer after discovering what it considered to be possible improprieties in some of his business dealings. Estrada responded by suing the City for disability discrimination under the California Fair Employment and Housing Act. He asserted that he was terminated because of prior workers’ compensation claims.

The trial court dismissed Estrada’s case based on its conclusion that Estrada was not an employee of the City and therefore could not bring an action for employment discrimination.