A San Francisco woman who says Lucasfilm Ltd. canceled a job offer after learning she was pregnant won a $113,830 jury verdict Wednesday.
Julie Gilman Veronese, 37, sued the film company late last year, claiming an aide to George Lucas revoked an offer for a $75,000-a-year personal assistant position after she revealed she was pregnant.
Throughout the trial, attorneys for the billionaire filmmaker contended Veronese was hired only for a 30-day project and that the decision to cancel the work was mutual. They also argued that Veronese was a self-absorbed socialite who came to believe she was entitled to a job she never had.
The Marin County jury disagreed, finding after nearly three days of deliberations that the company famous for the “Star Wars” and “Indiana Jones” franchises had wrongfully terminated Veronese because of her pregnancy.
Angela Alioto, Veronese’s attorney and mother-in-law, heralded the verdict as a huge victory for women’s rights.
In her testimony, Veronese said Lucas’ personal assistant Sarita Patel hired her for a full-time position, which would start with a 30-day probationary period. The Friday before she was to start work, though, Veronese revealed to Patel that she had learned she was pregnant. Patel responded by telling her not to come into work, Veronese told the jury.
After that, Patel wouldn’t give her a start date, Veronese said, and eventually shortened her employment to a three-week project. A termination letter was drafted for Veronese the day after she complained to Patel in an e-mail that “I can’t help but think that things have changed because I’m pregnant.”
Defense attorneys said the 30-day period was intended to be a try out for the full-time job, but that Veronese was deemed unfit.