LOS ANGELES (CN) – A former prosecutor of the L.A. County District Attorney’s Office can move forward with claims he lost his job because of his membership in a public employees union, a federal judge ruled.
Jeremy Moore alleged a “custom” of discrimination against members of the Association of Deputy District Attorneys (ADDA), saying deputy district attorneys (DDAs) were harassed, demoted and reassigned for supporting the organization.
Moore claimed that when he asked District Attorney Steven Cooley about forming an employee union, he received a “dirty look” and learned from fellow prosecutors that joining the ADDA was “not a good idea.”
The former prosecutor lost his job at the end of his year-long probationary period and attributes it to his support of the union.
After the District Court in California dismissed Moore’s lawsuit, he filed an amended complaint alleging free-speech claims.
This time judge U.S. District Judge Otis Wright sided with Moore.
The judge said the former prosecutor had established sufficient allegations of a “longstanding practice” of weakening or destroying unions, noting claims that ADDA members’ health care costs were fixed, while nonunion members costs were reduced, in addition to Cooley’s alleged practice of seizing union communications.
“To the extent the County argues that any instances of anti-union behavior were sporadic and isolated … the court finds that the … allegations regarding retaliation against other DDAs specifically controvert any assertion that any retaliation against plaintiff was an isolated incident,” Wright wrote.
The judge added that Moore had alleged facts to show that Cooley and his other supervisors “either had final policymaking authority or had been delegated such authority by the County.”
While Cooley was dismissed from the case, late last year he was the subject of a long-running labor dispute between the ADDA and the county.
In that case, the hearing officer agreed that Cooley had retaliated against prosecutors for their union activities.