California Employment Law Update

Category Archives: Discrimination

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Statute Of Limitations For Constructive Discharge Claim Began To Run After Employee’s Resignation Date

Green v. Brennan, 578 U.S. ___, 136 S. Ct. 1769 (2016) Marvin Green alleged racial discrimination under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, claiming he was denied a promotion because he is black; his supervisors had accused Green of the crime of intentionally delaying the mail. In an agreement between the parties dated December … Continue Reading

California Assembly Approves Measure Requiring Single-Occupancy Restrooms to Be Designated “All Gender”

The California Assembly has voted to approve A.B. 1732, which would require all single-occupancy restrooms in any business, public accommodation, or government agency to be branded as “all gender” and ban any single-user bathroom from being designated male- or female-only.  The bill also authorizes building inspectors or other local officials responsible for code enforcement to … Continue Reading

Employee Who Needed To Assist Disabled Son Could Proceed With “Associational Disability Discrimination” Claim

Castro-Ramirez v. Dependable Highway Express, Inc., 246 Cal. App. 4th 180 (2016) Luis Castro-Ramirez sued his former employer, Dependable Highway Express, Inc., for “associational disability discrimination,” failure to prevent discrimination and retaliation under the California Fair Employment and Housing Act (“FEHA”) and wrongful termination. Castro-Ramirez’s son requires daily dialysis, and Castro-Ramirez must administer the treatment … Continue Reading

Employee Could Proceed With Misclassification Claim, Though Wrongful Termination Claim Was Properly Rejected

Davis v. Farmers Ins. Exch., 245 Cal. App. 4th 1302 (2016) William A. Davis brought suit against Farmers, claiming he had been wrongfully classified as an independent contractor rather than an employee and asserting that he had been wrongfully terminated on the basis of his age. The trial court directed a verdict in Farmers’s favor … Continue Reading

EEOC Sufficiently Conciliated Class Claims Before Bringing Suit, And Employee Stated Hostile Environment Claim

Arizona ex rel. Horne v. The Geo Group, 2016 WL 945634 (9th Cir. 2016) Alice Hancock was employed by Geo as a correctional officer at the Arizona State Prison. Geo contracts with the Arizona Department of Corrections to maintain and operate two facilities in the state. Hancock filed a charge of discrimination and harassment based … Continue Reading

Employer Did Not Violate ADA When It Failed To Return Employee To Full-Time Position Following Medical Leave

Mendoza v. The Roman Catholic Archbishop of Los Angeles, 2016 WL 1459214 (9th Cir. 2016) Alice Mendoza worked as a full-time bookkeeper for a small parish church. She took sick leave for 10 months, during which time the pastor of the church took over the bookkeeping duties himself and determined that Mendoza’s job could be … Continue Reading

New California Regulations Regarding Discrimination, Harassment and Pregnancy Disability Leave

New California anti-discrimination, anti-harassment, and pregnancy disability leave regulations go into effect on April 1, 2016.  The substantive law regarding these issues has not changed.  However, the new amendments enumerate detailed requirements regarding anti-harassment policies and investigations, and institute additional notice and recordkeeping requirements. Anti-Discrimination and Harassment Regulations The new anti-discrimination and harassment regulations clarify … Continue Reading

Court Reverses $1 Million Discrimination Verdict Entered Against LA Fire Department

Jumaane v. City of Los Angeles, 241 Cal. App. 4th 1390 (2015) Jabari Jumaane, an African-American firefighter with the Los Angeles Fire Department, sued the City of Los Angeles for racial discrimination, harassment and retaliation. Following a 34-day jury trial, the jury found for Jumaane on his claims and awarded him more than $1 million … Continue Reading

EEOC Is Entitled To More Information From Employer In Connection With Sex Discrimination Case­

EEOC v. McLane Co., 2015 WL 6457965 (9th Cir. 2015) Damiana Ochoa filed a charge with the EEOC alleging sex discrimination (based on pregnancy) in violation of Title VII, when, after s­­he tried to return to her job following maternity leave, her employer (McLane Co.) informed her that she could not come back to the … Continue Reading

Gender-Based “Fair Pay Act” Enacted

This law amends Labor Code § 1197.5 (SB 358): Broader Prohibition of Gender Wage Differentials Enacted Currently, Section 1197.5 prohibits an employer from paying an employee at wage rates less than the rates paid to employees of the opposite sex in the same establishment for equal work. The amendment revises this prohibition, instead prohibiting an … Continue Reading

California Enacts a Raft of New Employment Legislation

The latest legislative session has just ended, and, true to form, the California Legislature has added more than a dozen new laws affecting employers doing business in the nation’s largest state.  These statutes are in addition to the other six new laws that we reported on in September: Signed legislation: Sick Leave: Accrual And Limitations Language … Continue Reading

School Teacher With Breast Cancer Could Proceed With Disability Discrimination Lawsuit

Swanson v. Morongo Unified School Dist., 2014 WL 7399317 (Cal. Ct. App. 2014) Lauralyn Swanson was a teacher for the Yucca Valley Elementary School who was diagnosed with breast cancer and underwent a mastectomy. After the district’s board of education voted not to renew Swanson’s contract, Swanson sued for discrimination based on medical condition, denial … Continue Reading

University Professor Was Properly Terminated For Refusing Fitness-For-Duty Exam

Kao v. The University of San Francisco, 229 Cal. App. 4th 437 (2014) Dr. John S. Kao was a tenured professor at USF who submitted a 485-page complaint (plus a 41-page addendum) to the university alleging race-based discrimination and harassment at the school. Kao was not satisfied with the university’s two-page response, which he said … Continue Reading

Unpaid Interns Are Now Protected Against Discrimination and Harassment

On September 9, 2014, California Governor Jerry Brown signed A.B. 1443, which extends the state’s anti-harassment and anti-discrimination protections to unpaid interns. Employers are now prohibited from discrimination based on protected characteristics in the “selection, termination, training or other terms” of unpaid interns. A.B. 1443 also prohibits harassment of unpaid interns based on protected characteristics, … Continue Reading

$60,000 Sexual Harassment Verdict Is Affirmed

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

Male Deputies Prohibited From Supervising Female Inmates Could Proceed With Sex Discrimination Case (Is Orange the New Black?)

Ambat v. City & County of San Francisco, 2014 WL 2959634 (9th Cir. 2014) The plaintiffs in this case are current and former deputies of the San Francisco Sheriff’s Department (“SFSD”) who challenged the SFSD’s policy prohibiting male deputies from supervising female inmates. The deputies contend that the policy violates Title VII’s prohibition against sex … Continue Reading

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

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

Proskauer Wins Summary Judgment On Behalf Of Paramount Pictures

On December 16, we obtained summary judgment on behalf of our client, Paramount Pictures Corporation, in a case brought by a former paralegal in the studio’s Business Affairs Administration department.  The plaintiff claimed discrimination, constructive discharge and wrongful termination on the basis of her race.  (The plaintiff was represented by Tom Girardi, who had previously represented Erin … Continue Reading

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

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

Store Manager’s Disability And Harassment Claims Were Properly Dismissed

Lawler v. Montblanc N. Am., LLC, 704 F.3d 1235 (9th Cir. 2013) Cynthia Lawler alleged disability discrimination, harassment, retaliation and intentional infliction of emotional distress (“IIED”) associated with the termination of her employment. The district court granted summary judgment in favor of Montblanc, and the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed, holding that Montblanc had … Continue Reading
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