An electrical technician who worked in the TV industry says he was fired while in the hospital right before Christmas.
An electrician who has worked on many television shows is alleging in a new lawsuit that Universal Television violated the law when it replaced him after he tested positive for COVID-19.
In a complaint filed today in Los Angeles Superior Court, William Pavlu says he was most recently employed as the chief rigging technician for two shows: Mythic Quest and Hacks. He was working on a comedy for Universal when his work life was disrupted.
In December, Pavlu says he woke up sick and stayed home from work. Universal allegedly sent a nurse to administer a COVID-19 test, which was positive. He took leave from his job, and he says he was given assurances he would not be fired.
Pavlu says his condition then worsened and he was admitted to a hospital. It was there that he allegedly was told by one of his superiors that he was being terminated. “I spoke with [the line producer], but he is unwilling to bring you back after the break,” he says he was told.
A text message between Pavlu and a unit production manager then followed.
“Today I’m in the hospital,” wrote Pavlu. “My Lungs are filled up. 2 of my guys have went to the hospital this last week. We are all out on Covid. Today I get a text saying we are all let go from the gaffer. So I Have to tell my whole crew that this is our [sic] for Covid, and right before Christmas we’re all fired because of the virus. This is probably the most messed up thing any production has done to me. Or I’ve heard of. Words don’t describe how I feel about you guys right now.”
Pavlu, who says he can’t even get expenses reimbursed, claims disability discrimination and wrongful termination.
Universal hasn’t yet responded to an opportunity to comment.