Fierce legal battle restores member’s job
12:06 PM - September 25, 2012
Unjust termination withdrawn after pressure from expert staff and member leaders
After intense legal negotiations and numerous solidarity actions, Linda Martinez went back to work nine months after being unjustly terminated by the Department of Social Services (DSS). “The amount of persistence and expertise used to handle my case was impressive. I cannot thank Local 1000 enough for the work they performed on my behalf,” said Martinez.
During Thanksgiving week 2011, Linda participated in a Joint Labor Management Committee meeting. That same week she received a notice of termination signed by a DSS representative who sat across from her at the negotiating table. The notice cited a list of minute infractions that hardly merited any disciplinary action let alone termination.
Staff and member leaders embarked upon a long road of legal battles and negotiation with Linda’s employer. Moments before beginning a trial, Linda and DSS settled her appeal, and Linda returned to work on August 22, 2012 with no disciplinary action. “The Department’s initial action was inexcusably heavy-handed,” said Theresa Witherspoon, Local 1000 attorney who handled her case. “Linda was subjected to a terrible injustice, and it was imperative that we kept fighting for her.”
Martinez, a Disability Evaluation Analyst I who works for the Disability Determination Services Division (DDSD), has been a state employee for 26 years and has worked for DSS for 10. She is also the Secretary-Treasurer for District Labor Council 744, and currently sits on the Secure Retirement for All Californians Committee and DDSD Action Committee, which is comprised of Local 1000 members and staff.
“I had the complete support of the Local 1000 DDSD team, staff and the statewide officers. They had a concrete plan and handled everything very well. It would have been impossible for me to be as persistent alone as they were as a team,” said Martinez. “The union was there for me every step of the way and is the reason I am now working again. There is no doubt in my mind that they always had my back.”