Wrongful Termination: Mansfield Offers Settlement

by Norman B. Blumenthal on April 7, 2014

Los Angeles California employment lawyer Pat Mullins is a former, longtime Mansfield city clerk. Mullins recently accepted a settlement in the amount of $14,000. The settlement came from the city in response to her claim of wrongful termination after her firing on August 25, 2012. Mansfield City Council approved the settlement as well as the cost of Mullins’ attorney (fees totaling $1,500).

The former mayor Estona Middlebrooks fired Pat Mullins in August 2012. Officials advised that Mullins filed a complaint regarding her firing with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, but that a formal lawsuit was not filed. She did, however, hire a lawyer by the name of Tony Sandberg.

The Interim Mayor, Jeff Riley, responded saying that he along with Mullins and Mullins’ daughter negotiated a settlement together over the course of a few weeks. Attorneys were not present.

Mullins had served the City of Mansfield as a clerk for 37 years. A councilman involved in the proceeding noted that Mullins didn’t pinpoint age discrimination as a reason in the complaint documentation, but that age discrimination was alluded to in relation to the wrongful dismissal claim submitted by Mullins.

If the city was found liable for damages as a result of not following proper protocol in an employee firing, the damages would have far exceeded the settlement amount of $14,000. As a constitutional officer, hiring and firing of the city clerk is the responsibility of the city council. In the case of Pat Mullins, Mayor Middlebrooks fired the clerk herself without authority from the city council.

In accepting the settlement, Pat Mullins agreed to fully release the city of Mansfield and the city’s officials from any and all claims in connection to employment for the city.

If you or someone you know may be a victim of wrongful termination, contact Blumenthal, Nordrehaug & Bhowmik to discuss  the next step. 

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