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Zirpel v. Alki David Productions, Inc. (CA2/4 B317334, filed 6/20/23, pub. ord. 7/14/23) Lab. Code § 1102.5 Retaliation 

ADP HeadquartersDefendant and appellant Alki David Productions, Inc. (ADP) appeals from the judgment entered in favor of plaintiff and respondent Karl Zirpel (Zirpel) after a jury found ADP liable for whistleblower retaliation under Labor Code section 232.5, which prohibits an employer from discharging an employee who discloses information about the employer’s working conditions, and section 1102.5, subdivisions (b) and (c), which prohibits an employer from retaliating against an employee who refuses to participate in an activity that would violate the law or who discloses information the employee reasonably believes would disclose a violation of law.  The jury awarded Zirpel $7,068,717 in damages (consisting of $368,717 in economic damages, $700,000 in non-economic damages, and $6 million in punitive damages).  The jury further found that ADP wrongfully terminated Zirpel’s employment after he refused to work on an equipment installation at a theater because the work would violate the law and because Zirpel reasonably believed that the work would violate the law.  The jury further found that ADP terminated Zirpel’s employment with malice, oppression, or fraud.  The trial court denied ADP’s motions for judgment notwithstanding the verdict (JNOV) and for a new trial.

We affirm the judgment.