USS-Posco Indus. v. Edwards, 111 Cal. App. 4th 436 (2003)

Ezell Edwards was terminated from his employment as a mill worker at USS-Posco Industries’ (UPI’s) tin mill after he made generalized threats of violence against UPI, including a statement that “they’re going to have to change the company’s name from USS-Posco to USSColumbine.” The trial court issued a three-year injunction in the name of the UPI supervisor who had initiated disciplinary action against Edwards, even though there was no evidence that Edwards had made any direct threats against the supervisor. Edwards unsuccessfully sought to modify the injunction, claiming that he was a well known “trash talker” but that he never took any violent action and should not have been taken seriously. On appeal, Edwards further argued that theinjunction order should have been modified because he had not directed any threats specifically at the supervisor in whose name the injunction was issued. The Court of Appeal upheld the trial court’s order denying Edwards’ motion to modify the injunction, holding that “an employer may seek relief under [Code of Civil Procedure section 527.8] on behalf of any employee who is credibly threatened with unlawful violence, whether or not that employee is identified by the defendant.” The Court of Appeal also rejected Edwards’ arguments that there was insufficient evidence to support the injunction, that UPI had retaliated against him for his prior complaints of racial discrimination and that his statements were protected by the First Amendment.