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California Employment Law Blog

Category Archives: FEHA

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$60,000 Sexual Harassment Verdict Is Affirmed

Posted in Discrimination, FEHA, Sexual Harassment, Wrongful Termination

Kim v. Konad USA Distribution, Inc., 226 Cal. App. 4th 1336 (2014) Following a bench trial, Esther Kim was awarded $60,000 against her former employer (Konad) and her former boss (Dong Whang) for sexual harassment and wrongful termination. Curiously, defendants did not challenge the pleadings or file any pretrial motion to dispose of any part… Continue Reading

“Unauthorized Alien” Who Provided False SSN Can Proceed With Disability Discrimination Lawsuit

Posted in Discrimination, FEHA, Immigration

Salas v. Sierra Chem. Co., 2014 WL 2883878 (Cal. S. Ct. 2014) Vicente Salas worked on Sierra Chemical’s production line, filling containers with various chemicals. At the time of his hire, Salas provided Sierra with a resident alien card and a Social Security card and signed an Employment Eligibility Verification Form (I-9 Form). After allegedly… Continue Reading

California Supreme Court Limits Recovery for Employees Who Misrepresent Their Immigration Status

Posted in E-Verify, Federal Jurisdiction, FEHA, Immigration, Wrongful Termination

On June 26, 2014, the California Supreme Court handed down Salas v. Sierra Chemical, a case at the intersection of employment and immigration law. Salas, a former employee of Sierra Chemical, filed suit alleging disability discrimination and wrongful termination. Prior to trial, Salas notified the court that he would assert a Fifth Amendment privilege to… Continue Reading

Employee’s Sexual Harassment Lawsuit Was Not Barred By Shortened Statute Of Limitations

Posted in Employment Applications, FEHA

Ellis v. U.S. Sec. Assocs., 224 Cal. App. 4th 1213 (2014) When Ashley Ellis applied to work as a security guard for U.S. Security Associates, she signed an employment application that purported to limit the statute of limitations to six months for any employment-related claims. Later, Ellis claimed to have been sexually harassed by her… Continue Reading

Male Employee’s Sexual Harassment Claims Should Not Have Been Dismissed

Posted in FEHA, Retaliation, Sexual Harassment

Lewis v. City of Benicia, 224 Cal. App. 4th 1519 (2014) Brian Lewis, a heterosexual man, sued his former employer (the City of Benecia) and two former male supervisors for sexual harassment and the City for retaliation. The trial court granted summary judgment in favor of the supervisors (Steve Hickman and Rick Lantrip) and judgment… Continue Reading

March 2014 California Employment Law Notes

Posted in Attorney's Fees, Class Actions, Collective Bargaining, Employment Law Notes, FEHA, FMLA, Harassment, Kin Care, Leaves of Absence, Overtime, Privacy, Retaliation, Sexual Harassment, Wage and Hour, Whistleblowers, Wrongful Termination

$150,000 Sexual Harassment Verdict And $680,000 Fee Award Affirmed Taylor v. Nabors Drilling USA, LP, 222 Cal. App. 4th 1228 (2014) Max Taylor worked as a floorhand on an oil rig where he alleged he was harassed by his supervisors who called him “queer,” “fagot [sic],” “homo,” and “gay porn star” and was subjected to… Continue Reading

California Moves to Reinstate Large Emotional Distress Damage Awards in “Mixed Motive” Cases

Posted in Discrimination, Employee Discipline, FEHA, Harassment, New and Proposed Laws and Legislation, Wrongful Termination

As regular readers of this blog know, it has been a busy summer for employment-related legislation in the California Legislature (see here and here). Yet of all the bills currently wending their way through the legislative process, none would affect California employment law more than Senate Bill 655. If enacted, SB 655 would modify the… Continue Reading

California Amends Sexual Harassment Law

Posted in FEHA, New and Proposed Laws and Legislation, Sexual Harassment

Governor Brown signed Senate Bill 292 this week, amending the Fair Employment and Housing Act to allow an employee claiming sexual harassment to prevail without having to show that the allegedly harassing conduct was motivated by the harasser’s “sexual desire.” S.B. 292 was authored by Senate majority leader Ellen M. Corbett and principally sponsored by… Continue Reading

California Senate Bill 404 Would Add Legal Protection for Employees Who Provide Medical or Supervisory Care to Family Members

Posted in FEHA, New and Proposed Laws and Legislation

California employers are well-advised to keep an eye on Senate Bill 404, a proposed amendment to the Fair Employment and Housing Act (“FEHA”), California’s primary anti-employment discrimination law.  If enacted, SB 404 would add another category to the already lengthy list of protected characteristics under the FEHA – “familial status,” which is defined as “an… Continue Reading

Employee’s Wrongful Termination And Defamation Claims Were Properly Dismissed

Posted in Defamation, Employment Law Notes, FEHA, Wrongful Termination

McGrory v. Applied Signal Tech., 212 Cal. App. 4th 1510 (2013) John McGrory alleged his employment was terminated because he is male and because he participated in his employer’s internal investigation. He also alleged defamation associated with a statement the vice president of human resources made to another employee about why McGrory had been terminated…. Continue Reading

Employee Who Exhausted Four Months Of Pregnancy Leave Was Entitled To Further Disability Leave

Posted in Employment Law Notes, FEHA, Pregnancy Leave

Sanchez v. Swissport, Inc., 2013 WL 635266 (Cal. Ct. App. 2013) In a case of first impression, the California Court of Appeal determined in this case whether an employee who has exhausted all permissible leave (four months) under the California Pregnancy Disability Leave Law (“PDLL”) may state a claim for failure to accommodate a disability… Continue Reading

California Supreme Court Revises Jury Instructions And Trial Procedures In Discrimination Cases

Posted in Employment Law Notes, FEHA, Wrongful Termination

Harris v. Superior Court, 56 Cal. 4th 203 (2013) Wynona Harris alleged her employment was terminated by the City of Santa Monica because of her pregnancy in violation of the California Fair Employment and Housing Act. The city claimed Harris had been fired for poor job performance – she had two preventable traffic accidents and… Continue Reading

California Supreme Court Rules On Mixed Motive Defense To Discrimination Claims, But Large Verdicts Persist…

Posted in Discrimination, FEHA

Harris v. City of Santa Monica, No. S181004, 2013 Cal. LEXIS 941 (Feb. 7, 2013) Wynona Harris, a bus driver for the City of Santa Monica (the City), alleged that she was fired because of her pregnancy in violation of the prohibition against sex discrimination under the Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA).  The City… Continue Reading

Police Officer Who Had Heart Attack Could Not Perform Essential Functions Of Administrative Job

Posted in Disability, Discrimination, Employment Law Notes, FEHA

Lui v. City and County of San Francisco, 211 Cal. App. 4th 962 (2012) After suffering a major heart attack, Kenneth Lui retired from his position as a police officer with the San Francisco Police Department. After the Department informed him there were no administrative positions available that did not require him to perform the… Continue Reading

“A Motivating Reason” Jury Instruction Is Upheld In Pregnancy Discrimination Case

Posted in Discrimination, Employment Law Notes, FEHA, Retaliation, Wrongful Termination

Alamo v. Practice Mgmt. Info. Corp., 2012 WL 4450066 (Cal. Ct. App. 2012) Lorena Alamo sued her former employer Practice Management Information Corp. (“PMIC”) for pregnancy discrimination and retaliation in violation of the California Fair Employment and Housing Act (“FEHA”) and wrongful termination in violation of public policy. Alamo was terminated for poor work performance… Continue Reading

California Increases Protection of Religious Expression in the Workplace

Posted in Employment Law Notes, FEHA, New and Proposed Laws and Legislation, Reasonable Accommodation, Religion

Effective January 1, 2013, California employers will be required to accommodate their employees’ religious dress and grooming practices. Governor Brown has signed into law the “Workplace Religious Freedom Act of 2012″ (authored by Assemblymember Mariko Yamada (D-Davis)), which specifies that religious dress and grooming practices shall be considered a protected religious observance under the California… Continue Reading

LAPD Officer’s $2.1 Million Jury Award For Retaliation Is Reversed

Posted in Employment Law Notes, FEHA, Retaliation, Sexual Harassment

Joaquin v. City of Los Angeles, 202 Cal. App. 4th 1207 (2012) Richard Joaquin alleged his employment as an LAPD officer was terminated in retaliation for his having filed a sexual harassment complaint against his supervisor, Sgt. James Sands. The case was tried to a jury and Joaquin was awarded more than $2.1 million in… Continue Reading

Ministerial Exception Barred School Employee’s Wrongful Termination Claims Against Church

Posted in Discrimination, Employment Law Notes, FEHA, Religion, Wrongful Termination

Henry v. Red Hill Evangelical Lutheran Church, 201 Cal. App. 4th 1041 (2011) Sara Henry taught preschool children at the Red Hill Evangelical Church of Tustin; she was also the director of the preschool. Henry, who is Catholic, was not required to be Lutheran (only a practicing Christian) and was aware of the “Christian-based, Bible-based… Continue Reading

New California Law Prohibits Discrimination Based on Genetic Information

Posted in Discrimination, FEHA, New and Proposed Laws and Legislation

The number of protected classes under California’s Fair Employment and Housing Act (“FEHA”), Cal. Gov’t Code § 12900 et seq., has risen by one. The FEHA, together with the Unruh Civil Rights Act, Cal. Civ. Code § 51, currently prohibit discrimination in employment, housing, public accommodation, and services provided by business establishments on the basis of… Continue Reading

“Me Too” Evidence Was Relevant to and Admissible in Discrimination Lawsuit

Posted in Discrimination, Employment Law Notes, FEHA, Sexual Harassment

Pantoja v. Anton, 198 Cal. App. 4th 87 (2011) Lorraine Pantoja sued attorney Thomas J. Anton and his firm for wrongful termination, violation of the Fair Employment and Housing Act (“FEHA”), battery, sexual battery and intentional infliction of emotional distress. By the time of the trial, only the FEHA claims remained. In their motions in… Continue Reading

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… Continue Reading

Employee Was Not Sexually Harassed By His Male Supervisor, But Could Proceed With Retaliation Claim

Posted in Employment Law Notes, FEHA, Retaliation, Sexual Harassment

Kelley v. The Conco Cos., 196 Cal. App. 4th 191 (2011) Patrick Kelley, an apprentice ironworker, complained to his employer, Conco, that he had been subjected to a “barrage of sexually demeaning comments and gestures by his male supervisor” (David Seamen). After Kelley’s union suspended him from its apprenticeship program, he was not rehired by… Continue Reading