PG&E worker wins $1 million in lawsuit

by the Associated Press
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(AP Photo)

(AP Photo)

SANTA CRUZ, Calif. (AP) — A former power line worker for Pacific Gas & Electric has been awarded more than $1 million in a wrongful termination suit that claimed he was fired after making safety complaints.

The Santa Cruz Sentinel reports 44-year-old Matthew Niswonger filed the complaint after being told by a supervisor to replace a broken electrical pole without shutting down power.

He says he was fired via a voicemail message last year during a medical leave he took after suffering panic attacks, anxiety and depression.

The jury awarded Niswonger $595,615 for lost wages and benefits and $500,000 for emotional distress. PG&E also was ordered to pay for Niswonger’s legal fees.

Monica Tell, a spokeswoman for PG&E, told the Sentinel on Friday that the utility’s lawyers planned to continue the case.

Niswonger worked for PG&E for about eight years.

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