M.W. v. California Company

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April 23, 2004
Legal Momentum served as co-counsel with Hadsell & Stormer, a private civil rights law firm in California.

Summary of the Case

M.W. worked for fourteen years as an accountant for a large company headquartered in California. She was steadily promoted during her time at the company. For the last three years of her employment, she was married to a man who beat her badly and regularly threatened to kill her.

M.W. repeatedly asked her supervisor for thirty days off from work to address her injuries and to make arrangements to leave her husband safely. Even though California law requires that employers permit their employees to take time off to address domestic violence, these requests were denied. Instead, M.W. was put on probation for missing too much work. In March 2003, she was finally granted a ten-day leave. One month later, she was fired. When she asked why, she was told it was because she had been a few days late with completing an internal memorandum and that "if she really cared about her job, she would not have asked for time off."

Legal Momentum sued on her behalf. Our claims included violation of the California domestic violence leave law, violation of the California Family Rights Act (the state counterpart to the federal Family and Medical Leave Act), and wrongful discharge in violation of public policy (the theory that prevailed in the Apessos case).  


After we defeated the defendant’s motion for summary judgment, the case was resolved on confidential terms.


  • Violence Against Women and Girls
  • Workplace Equality and Economic Empowerment

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