LOS ANGELES – A former UPS truck driver was awarded $5.45 million in his whistleblower retaliation suit alleging he was wrongfully fired from his job as a truck driver with the delivery service in 2017 after more than 30 years of service.
A Los Angeles Superior Court jury deliberated for only a matter of hours on Monday before finding in favor of Richard Galvan, who is now in is mid-50s. The panel did not make an additional finding that would have allowed its members to award punitive damages.
Galvan was hired at UPS in October 1986 and throughout his employment was a member of Teamsters Local 396, serving as union steward starting in 2000, the suit stated. Galvan was fired in January 2017 and was a big-rig driver at the time, according to his complaint.
Galvan alleged that UPS cut back his hours and discriminated against him because of an injury and due to his age. He maintained that younger workers with less seniority were taking some of his shifts as of August 2016 and that when he filed a grievance, the discrimination increased.
Galvan also maintained he was assaulted by a co-worker with a known history of violence while the plaintiff was participating in workers’ rights activism in an employee parking lot. The assailant was never disciplined, according to the suit filed in April 2018.
In their court papers, UPS attorneys denied Galvan was subjected to retaliation.
“Indeed, the evidence shows that Galvan raised hundreds of concerns throughout his 30-plus years of employment with UPS and was never subjected to any forms of retaliation for making such complaints,” the UPS lawyers argued in their court papers.
Galvan was fired because he was found to have “engaged in proven dishonesty” after an internal investigation and the decision was upheld by a neutral arbitrator in a union grievance hearing where several witnesses testified, including the plaintiff, according to the UPS attorneys’ court papers.
UPS did not authorize the co-worker’s alleged attack on Galvan, the UPS lawyers further state in their court papers.
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