A former Ross Stores Inc. assistant manager is suing her ex-employer, alleging she was fired in 2019 after being falsely accused of acting in an unreasonable and unsafe manner after a group of shoplifters entered her downtown Los Angeles store.
Michelle Young’s Los Angeles Superior Court lawsuit alleges wrongful termination and retaliation, violations of the state labor code and unfair competition. She seeks unspecified compensatory and punitive damages in the suit filed Wednesday, in which Young maintains she never confronted the store intruders and said the real reason she was fired was for complaining about missed meal and rest breaks.
A Ross Stores representative could not be immediately reached for comment.
Young was hired by Ross Stores in 2013 and held various positions, including sales assistant, cashier and area supervisor before being promoted to assistant store manager at the store in the 700 block of South Broadway, the last position she held before her firing last December, the suit states.
Young often was so busy that she rarely was able to take breaks and when she could stop to eat a meal, she did so while simultaneously performing her work tasks, the suit states. She was not compensated for breaks she missed, the suit alleges.
Young’s complaints about the missed breaks allegedly were ignored by management.
Young was on duty as acting manager on Nov. 23, 2019, when four people entered and began to “indiscriminately take merchandise and items,” according to the suit, which alleges that Young notified the store’s loss prevention specialist and asked that police be called.
She went outside to check if the police were coming, but saw none, the suit states. She reentered the store to resume her work, but suddenly crossed paths with the shoplifters, one of whom shoved Young to the ground, according to the suit.
“At no time was plaintiff attempting to block or thwart the robbery attempt,” it states.
Young was falsely accused of acting unreasonably even though video surveillance of the incident showed the plaintiff did nothing wrong, the suit states.
Young went home that day and returned Dec. 5, 2019 for her regular shift, but she received a text message two days later from her supervisor notifying her she was fired for allegedly violating the company policy during the incident with the shoplifters, the suit states.
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