A veteran lawyer in the county counsel's office is suing his bosses for illegal retaliation after he served as an honest witness in a case involving alleged anti-military service bias.
Brad Posin claims in his January 26 federal lawsuit that he'd earned excellent performance reviews for a decade until he was interviewed about his observations for a colleague, Robert Ervais, who filed a 2013 lawsuit against the county counsel's office.
Ervais claimed he faced repeated, workplace discrimination because he joined the U.S. Army Reserves after the 9-11 terrorist attacks.
The Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (USERRA) bans public and private employers from using military service as a basis for job discrimination.
One of the biggest USERRA victories in the nation for a military veteran happened less than two years ago in Southern California when a federal jury unanimously agreed that the Orange County Sheriff's Department harassed and fired Deputy Scott Montoya, a U.S. Marine who earned the Navy Cross for extraordinary combat bravery in Iraq, because of his service.
Shortly after the Montoya victory, the Ervais lawsuit settled out of court.
In his pending complaint, Posin said that after giving supportive statements for Ervais he received the first blemish on his employment record: contrived allegations that he'd "raised his voice" and been "consistently argumentative, harsh and disrespectful during conversations" at the office with superior bureaucrats.
Ultimately, junior, less qualified office lawyers received promotions from County Counsel Nicholas Chrisos and his deputy, Leon Page, in furtherance of the retaliation, he claims.
According to Posin, USERRA specifically shields him from retaliation because he gave statements in the Ervais matter.
Chrisos has not yet filed a response.
U.S. District Court Judge Andrews J. Guilford will preside over the case inside the Ronald Reagan Federal Courthouse in Santa Ana.
The parties have been ordered to enter pre-trial mediation negotiations.