Investor's Business Daily Loses Second Wrongful Termination Summary Judgment within Two Weeks

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Two former telemarketing employees chalk up wins as a Los Angeles Superior Court judge denies summary judgment and allows two related wrongful termination cases to continue to jury trial.

The Law Offices of Eric M. Epstein, APC, announces that trial preparations are currently underway for two related wrongful termination cases entitled, Toby Harris v. Investor's Business Daily, et al. (BC269313) and Alex Lane v. Investor's Business Daily, et. al (BC274964) which have been pending since March of 2002, against the national investment publication, Investor's Business Daily ("IBD"). Both cases are now scheduled to begin trial on Sept. 26, 2005 in Los Angeles Superior Court, Dept. 46.

Toby Harris, a 6-year employee of IBD alleges he was demoted and then terminated shortly after complaining in May, 2001, about IBD's practice of "charging back" employees' wages and secretly recording telephone conversations. Harris attended a meeting with IBD's Human Resource department wherein he expressed his concerns that Investor's Business Daily might be violating federal interstate wiretapping laws by illegally recording IBD's customers without prior disclosure to the customer and that IBD might be in violation of certain wage and hour labor codes. Harris was terminated within 3 weeks of making his complaints. IBD claimed he was terminated for moonlighting for the L.A. Times even though other employees routinely moonlighted and were not terminated, including at least one employee who moonlighted for the L.A. Times. The Court,on August 2, 2005, denied IBD's motion for summary judgment and held that there was a triable issue of material fact regarding whether the grounds given by IBD for Harris' termination was pretextural.

After Harris was fired, in an attempt to resolve the matter internally, Harris gathered approximately 30 employees and made a written demand through their attorney, Eric M. Epstein, to rectify the situation. Another employee of several years standing, Alex Lane, was part of that group and just two weeks later was also terminated, purportedly for not returning from a disability leave. On July 26, 2005, the Court denied IBD's motion for summary judgment in Mr. Lane's case and held that there is a triable issue of material fact as to Mr. Lane's termination as well.

Shortly after the above terminations, IBD changed it's disclosure policy to comply with FCC regulations regarding the recording of telephone conversations, and also changed the language of its written chargeback policy.

Mr. Epstein states that he will be seeking substantial damages for his clients' loss of earnings and emotional distress, as well as punitive damages.

IBD denies any wrongdoing.


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Eric M. Epstein, Esq.