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U.S. National Coach Sued for Wrongful Termination by Former Employee Dia Rianda

One of swimming’s most renowned coaches, Mark Schubert, is being sued for wrongful termination by a former employee, Coach Dia Rianda, in Orange County. Rianda claims she was wrongfully terminated by the former U.S. national coach after she became aware of abuse allegations in his Southern California club, Golden West Swimming Club (GWSC).

Schubert became the U.S. national coach after the 2004 Athens Olympics, leading the team through the Beijing Games, where Michael Phelps set an Olympic record with eight gold medals, but was mysteriously fired by USA swimming two years ago. No reason has been given for his dismissal, though Rianda said she was told by Schubert that he was let go because he knew of a two-decades-old abuse case and wanted to go public. Currently, Schubert is being accused of committing the same act, and turning his back on abuse cases closer to home.

Filed on Monday in Orange County Superior Court, the lawsuit claims Rianda began work at the GWSC last year after being hired by Schubert. The lawsuit alleges that Rianda became aware of sexual abuse allegation’s against a close friend of Schubert’s, Bill Jewell, and strongly objected to Jewel working at the club. The lawsuit further alleges Rianda was fired on July 11 because she continually alerted Schubert to “inappropriate behavior” by Jewell, a “volunteer assistant” at GWSC.

The lawsuit claims that an investigation began in January into Jewell’s action’s after Rianda passed on complaints she received about Jewell to Chuck Wielgus, the executive director of USA Swimming, and Susan Woessner, the organization’s director of safe sport. The lawsuit does not openly name a dollar amount Rianda is seeking, but Rianda stresses the purpose of the suit is to “change the culture of the sport”.

If you are an employee who believes they have been wrongfully terminated by their employer, the attorneys at Don Ho, LLP, can assist you. By representing both employers and employees in numerous cases, the attorneys at Don Ho, LLP, have retained a unique perspective in employment law matters and are able to successfully represent clients from both sides.

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