My question involves independent contractors in the state of: California
I am an independent contractor in the entertainment industry as a lighting designer/director. Recently, as I was working with an up and coming artist, it came to my attention that the newly appointed production manager, someone I had yet to meet, but, only knew by name, was planning to replace me with someone he wanted in my position. I have worked directly for the band since 2009 and at the moment he had no authority to fire me. I learned of his intentions thru email and spoke with the artist management. I was assured that this was not up for debate nor was I to worry, for all things had to go thru him first. I sent the production manager an email as well as a few others, letting him know how I felt about the situation. I got a reply stating that he trusted the people that worked for him, their number of years in the industry against my 18 plus years, and the budget was a factor for the things I requested to make the show better but, did not receive. During the super bowl, for two days and two shows, the production manager had the opportunity to meet me, see the quality of work I do for the first time, and give me his thoughts in a professional manner. It wasn't until the third day, mid-afternoon, that he introduced himself to me and later during the second song, immediately after the intro of the artist, he ran up on the platform bumping into me, flailing his arms, and yelling at the top of his lungs, while I am trying to do my job. I casually raised my hand and slowly pushed him away from me. He came back at me a second time doing the exact same thing and again I raised my hand slowly pushing him away as I continued to do my job. After seeing that his effort to distract me wasn’t working he spoke to the guy next to me and the stage manager down in front of me. The next day I tried to speak with the stage manager about what was going on and as I proceeded to do so, he immediately attacked me verbally, calling me a liar, it was BS and that I had opportunity to speak up prior. My work was described as unprofessional to say the least and that the artist as well as management wasn't pleased. My only thought and question to him was why was I not informed of this but, rather complimented on the work I was doing. Baffled, my thoughts were to finish the UK tour then leave just before the US tour. I spoke with management, telling them what happened, and my choice to leave due to differences with their production manager. To my surprise, two days later I am fired because the production manager ran to the artist directly after the show of the incident, giving his version of the event, and requesting the authority to fire me.
I had a verbal agreement with management to stay with the tour for a couple of years and I chose to leave the tour earlier then I would find someone with my professionalism to replace me. Out of all the time working with this particular artist, there was never a complaint from me nor was I being complained about. My work with them has been complimented on a regular basis as doing a phenomenal job. I have only started complaining since the new production manager has come on board. I have collected emails of the conversations between myself, management, and the production manager as well as an email asking management to keep the production manager away from me. This all seems deliberate and well planned. My thought is to file a law suit for the amount I would be paid for the rest of the year plus attorney fees. I am in California and the production manager is based in Florida. If I decide to pursue, it would seem logical to go after the artist rather than the production manager. Does anyone have any advice as to what my options are, what I should do, or even if I have a case?