Update from a prior post–Court of Appeal decision: Former Desparate Housewife co-star Nicollette Sheridan sued her production company for wrongful termination in 2010. Sheridan alleged she was terminated (her character killed off the show) in retaliation for complaining about the show creator striking her. The Los Angeles jury deadlocked and could not make a decision of whether she was retaliated against or her character was killed off for creative reasons.
After the jury trial, Defendant Touchstone Pictures appealed the trial court’s denial of their request for a directed verdict. Touchstone’s request for a directed verdict was based on there being no termination because Sheridan’s contract was simply not renewed. The California Court of Appeal agreed with Touchstone and held:
“We conclude that the trial court erred in denying Touchstone’s motion for a directed verdict.” “A cause of action for wrongful termination in violation of public policy does not lie if an employer decides simply not to exercise an option to renew a contract.” …“We conclude also that Sheridan should be permitted to file an amended complaint alleging a cause of action under Labor Code section 6310 that Touchstone retaliated against her for complaining about unsafe working conditions (e.g., Cherry’s conduct) by deciding not to exercise its option to renew her contract.”
What do you think of the court’s ruling that not having your contract renewed is not a termination?