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Orange County Digest

Buena Park : Former Employees Suing Knott's Berry Farm

May 09, 1985|G. M. BUSH

Two former Knott's Berry Farm employees have filed suit in Los Angeles Superior Court, seeking damages for what they said were unfair terminations from the amusement park last August.

Billy E. Inman Sr. and Emmett John Meis joined at least two other employees who have filed wrongful-termination suits against Knott's. Their attorney, Stephen L. Belgum, said about 100 longtime employees were terminated without cause on the same day.

James E. Hnizdil and Harold Hodgson sued Knott's last month, also alleging wrongful terminations. Knott's spokesman Jim Hardiman said the amusement park had no comment at this time.

Meis, 40, of Buena Park, said he was terminated 20 days shy of his 15th year as an electrical supervisor and ride maintenance engineer at the park. At the time of his discharge, he was the first or second most senior employee in his division, he said.

Meis said he suspected he was let go as part of an effort to "get rid of long-term employees."

"I enjoyed working there," he said. "It hurt me very bad, emotionally and financially."

Inman, 59, of Anaheim, was a journeyman painter with the park for almost five years. He could not be reached for comment Wednesday.

The four plaintiffs are seeking general and punitive damages.

Belgum said he does not know why the 100 employees were let go, but it could have been due to a change in management. He has had no response from Knott's, he said.

Belgum said he expects to file "at least two more" suits from other terminated employees in the near future. In addition, he said, "We believe there may have been one or two" suits handled by other attorneys.

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