As the weather gets warmer and we transition into spring/summer season, let’s remember one of the most interesting cases of summer 2014.
Robert “Bob” Sallustio and his wife Nancy Sallustio were in the middle of a terrible divorce. Both worked in the marketing department of Kemper Independence Insurance Co. in Sacramento, CA.
In 2006, in the midst of the divorce, Nancy began suffering from anxiety and stress that became so bad that she needed to seek medical attention and eventually go out on leave. At that point, the company continually harassed Nancy so she would quit her position. According to Bob’s initial lawsuit that escalated to trial, the company, namely the Regional Vice President of Marketing, wanted Nancy to leave because of her depression and crying at work related to the divorce.
Soon, both the Vice President of Human Resources and the Director of Human Resources were also on the bandwagon to get rid of Nancy. During the company’s crusade against her, Nancy finally filed a formal complaint with Human Resources saying she was being harassed and retaliated against for taking that leave and for her ongoing condition.
Nancy went out on a second leave, and upon her return, inquired if she could work from home as an accommodation. The Marketing VP denied her request and filled Nancy’s position with another employee.
Enter Bob, another employee of the company, and Nancy’s soon-to-be ex-wife. Bob also complained about the harassment surrounding Nancy. Bob created his own campaign to sabotage Nancy’s boss’s plans to get her out. This plan included promoting employees out of the marketing department.
Bob was then put under fire for his involvement, though his diplomatic attempts had been ignored. Though he had the support of co-workers and other managers, Bob was swiftly terminated.
Trial for this case lasted over five weeks plus over four days of jury deliberations. The jury awarded $5.65 million in lost wages, future lost wages, punitive damages, and past emotional stress. Standing up for his ex-wife made him the $5 Million Man.