For the most part, employment law may appear to lack the glitz and glamour of the entertainment legal issues we usually cover here at Law Law Land. But what the field might miss in star-studded premieres and ritzy award shows, it more than makes up for in amazingly entertaining fact patterns involving fascinating forms of employee misbehavior. And sometimes, just sometimes, the wacky world of California employment law intersects with the wacky world we call Hollywood. Today’s case-in-point involves an entertainment company, a complaining employee with a colorful nickname for his boss, a termination, and — of course — a lawsuit.
Rewind for a moment to 2008 — a year in which America said goodbye to Heath Ledger, hello to Barack Obama, and, depending on one’s political persuasion “You betcha” or “Dear God why?” to Sarah Palin. And that year, our plaintiff, Andrew McDonald, was a creative director at a visual post-production studio called RIOT. Defendant Ascent Media Group subsequently merged RIOT with Method Studios, after which Method Studios’ creative director Alex Frisch was named director of creative visual effects and became McDonald’s boss. Then things got interesting.