LOS ANGELES (CN) – Glendale City Council members conspired with a hospital to fire a hospital manager who wrote a letter to a newspaper editor criticizing the council for authorizing smoking sections in outdoor restaurants, the man claims in court.
Steven Gallegos sued Glendale Adventist Medical Center, three Glendale City Council members, and his supervisors at the hospital, in Superior Court, alleging conspiracy, wrongful firing and constitutional violations.
Gallegos claims the hospital fired him 11 days after his letter to the editor appeared in the Glendale News Press. It criticized defendant council members Ara Najarian, Laura Friedman and Rafi Manoukian, who had voted for the ordinance allowing smoking in limited areas in outdoor public places. The council passed the law by 3-2 vote.
Gallegos, then a program manager at the hospital, claims that after the newspaper printed his letter, “defendants Ara Najarian and/or Rafi Manoukian and/or Laura Friedman, acting under color of law and in their official capacities as councilpersons for the City of Glendale, California, used their office and influence upon GAMC, its President Kevin Roberts, its Director of Community Services Bruce Nelson, and plaintiff’s immediate supervisor at GAMC, Martha Rivera, to insist upon and effect the termination of plaintiff’s employment.”
Roberts, Nelson and Rivera are all named as defendants.
Gallegos’ letter to the editor, published on Oct. 6 this year, said: “The health of the citizens of Glendale has been sold out to private retail tobacco interests and the business owners who are eager to profit at the expense of our children, families and senior citizens who are susceptible to the toxins and poisons in secondhand tobacco smoke.
“Glendale’s outdoor dining ordinance allowed smoking in up to 25% of the total outdoor dining area, regardless of size of the dining area, as long as there is sufficient space for a 10-foot buffer……………
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