LOS ANGELES (CNS) - Academy Award-winning actor Tim Robbins is accused in a new lawsuit alleging pregnancy discrimination of going on a tirade in front of employees of a theater company he co-founded.
Robbins is not a defendant in the Los Angeles Superior Court lawsuit brought against Actor's Gang Inc. by Matea Galeana, which also alleges wrongful termination, violations of the California Family Rights Act and various state Labor Code violations. The former marketing and communications manager for the company seeks unspecified compensatory and punitive damages.
An Actor's Gang representative did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the suit brought Monday. The company's website still lists Galeana as the person to contact for media inquiries, even though her lawsuit states she was terminated in late 2022.
Actor's Gang was founded in 1981 by a group of actors, including the 64-year-old, West Covina-born Robbins. The lawsuit's reference to the "Shawshank Redemption" actor comes in a passage stating that last fall, many of the company's directors "grew hostile" and began "baselessly" accusing their employees working from home of not completing enough work.
"Defendants even guilted these employees, on this basis, to return to defendants' office, making out the employees who worked from home to be lazy and not dedicate their working hours to actual work, though such beliefs and accusations were without any foundation," the suit states.
No mandate was given to employees to return to the office, the suit states.
Throughout the meeting, Robbins, the company's artistic director and a member of the board "screamed at employees, accusing them of stealing money without any basis," the suit states without further elaboration.
The meeting, though particularly hostile, was representative of the toxic environment at the company, according to the suit.
According to Galeana, she was hired in October 2021 with an annual salary of $54,600 and that her duties included using the latest digital marketing tools to increase production ticket sales, developing community engagement, expanding audience awareness and improving the company's web, email and social media presence.
Galeana spent more than $10,000 for a camera she used for work and was never reimbursed, the suit states. Although she was scheduled to work only weekdays, she had to also monitor the social media on weekends, the suit further states.
"By failing to record or compensate (Galeana) for her weekend work, defendants unlawfully deprived (her) of her legally-earned overtime wages at an overtime rate of pay," the suit states.
Galeana became pregnant last July and in October underwent surgery after having difficulties in the process, according to the suit, which further states that the plaintiff requested a medical leave.
"Defendants accepted plaintiff's request, but stopped paying her," according to her suit, which further states that management asked for a return of her work computer, access keys and parking pass, including pressing for a return of the computer while she was in labor.
Galeana's baby girl died four hours after she gave birth Nov. 9 and the plaintiff went home the next day, the suit states.
"This was undoubtedly one of the worst, if not the worst, times in plaintiff's life," the suit states. "Yet, even with the knowledge of what (Galeana) had just endured the day prior, and that plaintiff had been absolutely distraught, defendants continued insisting that plaintiff promptly return her company laptop and key access."
Galeana responded that she could not immediately return the items because she was in the process of picking up the cremated remains of her deceased daughter, the suit states.
Management told Galeana in December that she would be presented with an option to not returning to work from her leave, but the plaintiff never received it and she was told to apply for unemployment if she wanted to be paid, the suit states.
Galeana believes her termination was "substantially motivated" by her pregnancy as well as her requests for accommodations, according to her suit, which further states she has suffered financially and also experienced "severe and profound pain emotional distress" since losing her job.
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