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Judge grants Nicollette Sheridan new wrongful termination trial

Actress Nicollette Sheridan is seeking her day in court again on allegations that she was wrongfully discharged from her role on the television series, “Desperate Housewives.” The employment law case has certainly included its own levels of drama, with twists and turns through its history. The case has already gone before a jury, a trial that ended in a deadlock under the law in the state where the trial was held. Jurors hung, with more favoring Sheridan in her claim for wrongful termination, according to the New York Daily News.

Not only has the trial run through one trial, but has gone up before an appellate panel. A court of appeals ruling found that there was no actual termination. The appellate court says that Sheridan had an employment contract, which was honored. The appellate judges found that the employer simply did not renew the employment contract at the end of the obligation.

Initially, Sheridan had brought several claims in court, including claims of sex and age discrimination. Those claims are not still a part of the litigation. It also appeared that the case was over in October when a judge denied Sheridan’s motion for a new trial under procedural grounds under state law. However, Wednesday the same judge reversed himself and granted the new trial.

One issue under dispute involves what happened before Sheridan’s character was written off the television series. The actress says that a show producer struck her in the head during a dispute on the set in 2008. She says that she was wrongfully discharged in retaliation for complaining about the alleged assault.

The story involves issues that may arise under another state’s laws. However, the concepts of wrongful termination remain alive. The woman says that she suffered harm for exercising her right to complain about an issue in the workplace. Many types of human rights laws that apply to the workplace prohibit employers from retaliating when a worker asserts a recognized right.

Examples may include unlawful retaliation for seeking workers’ compensation benefits, raising awareness over wrongdoing under a whistleblower statute, or suffering retaliation after complaining about discrimination or workplace safety issue. Workers in New York who may be faced with these kinds of issues may speak with an employment law attorney for what steps may be available related to employment law issues.

Source: New York Daily News, "Nicollette Sheridan wins approval for retrial for 'Desperate Housewives' wrongful termination suit," Don Kaplan, Jan. 30, 2014; Inquisitor, “Nicollette Sheridan ‘Desperate Housewives’ Lawsuit Back On, New Trial Possible,” Jan. 30, 2014

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