A man who was fired by a Hollywood production company after complaining that a work rival was snorting cocaine on the job has been awarded $450,000 by a Los Angeles jury, and will take home even more under a settlement reached Wednesday.
Andrew MacDonald was working as a visual effects specialist in 2009 when he told his boss that another employee was taking the drug in the company restroom, according to the complaint filed in the case.
Supervisors at Ascent Media Group downplayed the problem, MacDonald said in court papers.
According to his version of events, MacDonald became frustrated and asked whether he needed to video-tape his rival in the restroom in order to get the company’s attention.
MacDonald was fired the next day – for threatening to videotape someone in the bathroom, according to court papers filed by his attorney, Mark Geragos of Los Angeles.
Lawyers for Ascent Media Group, which later sold the production company to Deluxe Entertainment, did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Wednesday.
But on Tuesday, a jury found that Ascent had acted with malice in terminating MacDonald, who lost health benefits for his pregnant wife after he was fired.
The case had been set to continue on Wednesday with a second part of the trial aimed at determining punitive damages, but the two sides reached a settlement, a spokeswoman for the Superior Court said.
The employee who MacDonald claimed to have seen snorting cocaine has also since been fired, Geragos said.
The two men had worked for separate Southern California media companies - Riot and Method - which were merged by Ascent Media Group and later sold.