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California Employment Law Blog

ADA “Impliedly Amended” The National Bank Act’s Termination-at-Pleasure Clause

Posted in ADA, Disability, Employment Law Notes, FEHA

Quinn v. U.S. Bank, N.A., 196 Cal. App. 4th 168 (2011)

Robert Quinn, a former senior vice president of U.S. Bank, alleged he was denied accommodation, harassed and terminated because of a physical disability in violation of the Fair Employment and Housing Act. U.S. Bank obtained summary judgment from the trial court on the ground that Quinn’s FEHA claims were preempted by the dismissal-at-pleasure clause of the National Bank Act, 12 U.S.C. § 24. The Court of Appeal determined that the “seminal California case” on the subject, Peatros v. Bank of America, 22 Cal. 4th 147 (2000), is not “binding precedent” because the lead opinion was a plurality, not a majority opinion. Consequently, the Court held that “to the extent FEHA is not inconsistent with section 24 as impliedly amended by the ADA, it is not preempted” and, therefore, FEHA’s longer statute of limitations applies, but Quinn’s claims against his supervisor are preempted because there is no individual supervisor liability under the ADA. See also People ex rel. Harris v. Pac Anchor Transp., Inc., 195 Cal. App. 4th 765 (2011) (California’s Unfair Competition Law is not preempted by the Federal Aviation Administration Authorization Act).