A former TMZ producer has filed a lawsuit against the site, claiming he was fired for complaining about alcohol and drug use by other staffers on the job after he returned from a medical leave for depression.
According to the suit, filed by Christian Shostle in Los Angeles Superior Court on Tuesday, his co-workers "were using illegal drugs on the job, which was aggravating his stress condition and making his work environment harmful."
Shostle is suing TMZ for wrongful termination.
“[TMZ] did nothing to stop the illegal drug use," according to the claim.
Shostle claims that two days after returning to work – in April 2009 – he told his bosses about his colleagues’ on-the-job drug use. Less than a month later, on May 5, he claimed two of his bosses — Stuart Alpert and Charles Latibeaudiere — told him he "was not performing up to par."
Shostle — who had been with TMZ since 2006 and claims he was being paid $78,000 a year — claims he was fired the next day.
Shostle is seeking punitive damages for lost past and future earnings, medical expenses and suffering.
TMZ managing editor Harvey Levin and a Warner Bros. representative did not immediately return requests for comment. Shostle was not available for comment.
A person at the law firm representing Shostle — Glotzer & Sweat — declined to comment.
UPDATE: From a TMZ spokesperson: "We are not commenting as Warner Bros. typically does not comment on ongoing litigation."