A San Miguel man recently won a $500,671 wrongful termination lawsuit against his former employer, Applied Technologies Associates Inc. in Paso Robles.
Business and employment law firm Kinman & Curry of Paso Robles filed the suit in February 2012 in San Luis Obispo Superior Court on behalf of Mark Kenyon, a former Applied Technologies Associates vice president.
The case went before a jury in April in front of Judge Jac Crawford, resulting in an award totaling $500,671 for past and future economic losses, according to court filings. The verdict was filed in court May 24.
Applied Technologies Associates, which builds and manufactures technology products for the oil industry, wasn’t directly available for comment Monday. But its sister company issued a statement.
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“Applied Technologies Associates has no comment on the Mark Kenyon case at this time, as the case is still in the courts and currently under appeal,” said Dawn Barnes, human resources manager for Scientific Drilling International.
A lawsuit represents only one side of the story.
A hostile work environment claim was reportedly filed against Kenyon while he was still employed at Applied Technologies Associates.
According to the lawsuit, Kenyon learned of this claim during a 10-minute meeting with his company’s attorney at a local Starbucks coffee shop Nov. 17, 2011, then subsequently given a written warning and told that his behavior was being investigated.
Were the complaint proven true, the lawsuit also said, the firm’s attorney told Kenyon that he would be disciplined with a written warning, suspension or termination.
The next day, the firm’s attorney emailed Kenyon a letter advising him not to come into work in order to take a “cool off” period and to allow the company to conclude its internal investigation, according to the lawsuit.
By Dec. 1, 2011, Kenyon was fired. Trial attorney Barry Kinman then filed a lawsuit alleging breach of contract and wrongful termination.
Kenyon’s personnel record had no previous written complaints, according to his lawyer.
“That’s an undisputed fact in his 28-year history at the company,” Kinman told The Tribune.
“Absent a lawsuit, Kenyon would never have heard of the accusations leveled against him,” Kinman said in a June 5 statement.
The lawsuit goes on to say that Kenyon was denied timely access to his personnel files after the meeting and ultimately suffered breach of contract because his employment agreement said he wouldn’t be terminated without cause and the “complaint(s) have not been proven and are not accurate.”
Applied Technologies Associates’ internal investigation into Kenyon “launched a one-sided investigation (with) numerous employees who were given carte blanche to revive old, baseless personal grievances regarding Kenyon,” Kinman’s statement said. “Kenyon was kept completely in the dark and never allowed to know of the complaints or to respond.”