Featherstone v. Southern Cal. Permanente Med. Grp., 2017 WL 1399709 (Cal. Ct. App. 2017)

Ruth Featherstone alleged that her former employer (SCPMG) discriminated against her based on a “temporary disability” that was caused by an adverse drug reaction, which resulted in an “altered mental state.” During this alleged altered mental state, Featherstone resigned orally from her job in a telephone conversation with her supervisor so that she could “do God’s work” and then, a few days later, confirmed her resignation in writing. When Featherstone emerged from the altered mental state (which caused her to take off all of her clothes and walk around naked in front of others, swear at family members and take showers for no reason), she sought to rescind her resignation, which SCPMG declined to permit her to do. Featherstone alleged that SCPMG acted with discriminatory animus by refusing to allow her to rescind her resignation. Although Featherstone was eligible for rehire, she never reapplied for her position. The trial court granted summary judgment in favor of SCPMG, and the Court of Appeal affirmed, holding that the refusal to allow a former employee to rescind a resignation is not an adverse employment action under the Fair Employment and Housing Act. The Court further held that SCPMG was not contractually obligated to permit the rescission of an at-will employee’s resignation and affirmed summary adjudication of the remainder of Featherstone’s related claims, including failure to prevent discrimination, failure to accommodate a disability, failure to engage in the interactive process and wrongful termination in violation of public policy.