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Appeal Court Rules in Favor of Lucasfilm in Pregnancy Discrimination Case

Lucasfilm said the ruling is a vindication of their commitment to equal employment opportunity.

Lucasfilm rejoiced over a California court's decision to reverse a pregnancy discrimination verdict against the motion picture company in 2010 that costed $1.2 million in attorney's fees. 

Marin County Superior Court Judge Lynn O'Malley Taylor originally ruled in 2010 that the $1.2 million be awarded to Julie Gilman Veronese, who lost her job as a personal assistant to San Anselmo resident and filmmaker George Lucas in 2008. Veronese, who was fired three days before she was to begin work, claimed that her termination was due to her recent announcement that she was pregnant.

The three-judge appellate panel in the First District Court of Appeal in San Francisco said "the jury received improper instructions and sent the case back to Marin County for retrial," according to the Marin Independent Journal. The $1.2 million in attorney fees will be vacated.

"The allegations in this case were without merit," Lucasfilm spokeswoman Lynn Hale said in an email. "Lucasfilm is committed to equal employment opportunity and has a long track record of providing a supportive work environment free of discrimination in which all employees are treated fairly. In particular, we have always championed working mothers and have exemplary programs in place to help employees start families."

Veronese said she had been excited to start the "job of her dreams" and would have no problem carrying out her duties.

Monday's decision was written by justices James Richman, Paul Haerle and James Lambden. Veronese has 15 days to ask the judges to reconsider. If she decides to petition the California Supreme Court, she has 40 days.

"It's so upsetting that three men in a position of power could think this way in 2012," Veronese's attorney and mother-in-law Angela Alioto told the Marin IJ. "No pregnant woman is safe in the workplace with this attitude, the attitude of these three men."

Marinj December 11, 2012 at 04:29 PM
The verdict is ridiculous. The woman never started work. She had several different start dates and did not come to any. She knew she was pregnant before being interviewed. It was many of our opinions it was a setup by her to apply there, never really show up and force them to recall the hiring so they could sue. Her attorneys who are her own family specialize in wrongful termination suits. Sounds fishy to me. Shame shame. Especially when done to a company with such an exemplary record dealing with parents. Mothers and fathers and growing families. No wonder Mr Lucas is running away. So glad this was overturned. She and her family of attorneys deserve nothing.
Sharon A. Fox December 11, 2012 at 11:47 PM
In 1983 I interviewed with George Lucas for a position in his home. He was a perfect gentleman and the time I spent with George, his daughter and his dog made my visit one of the most enchanting interviews I have ever had. Even though it became clear our courses were moving in two different directions and this would not be a fit that would serve us both, I received the most uplifting, supportive and encouraging letter of appreciation from George that changed my life forever. Since then I've had many female friends who have worked for Lucas over the years. They have all heralded the joy and empowerment they have experienced working with Lucas in such a supportive environment. It appears to me that his accuser has been raised in an environment that groomed her to live the life of a socialite rather than a team member of a household staff. A harmonious and well run household needs team members who have a happy attitude of service and not entitlement. It looks as though after further evaluating Julie Gilman Veronese's interviews and interactions that Lucas executive assistant, Sarita Patel, had the wisdom to spot indicator factors that led her to believe that Veronese lacked the required intentions, attitude of service and self reliance to be a happy fit in the Lucas household. Veronese's actions following her dismissal prove that Patel's reevaluation was spot on. Sad so much time, money and energy was wasted on one person's sense of entitlement. George Lucas deserves better.
Frank Kemmeter December 12, 2012 at 02:48 AM
I just really believe Sharon Fox has said all that needs be said. WTG Sharon.
Michael December 13, 2012 at 12:24 AM
based on what information the public has on this it sure does look like a scam. hearing that Angela Alioto is part of her family really says it all. And if she was so overjoyed to be pregnant why wouldn't she tell this in the interview process? Good to see that sanity prevailed to this point. Now Alioto and her bloodsucking staff can appeal and keep going for that free gold. She's (Alioto) seemingly lived off of her father's reputation forever. Pitiful.

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