California Employment Law Update

Category Archives: FEHA

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“100% Healed From Injury” Policies May Violate the CA Fair Employment and Housing Act

The California Department of Fair Employment and Housing (“DFEH”) recently obtained a settlement on behalf of a custodian for a school district who was fired after an on-the-job injury.  As part of the settlement, the employer agreed to pay $290,000 and offer reinstatement with reasonable accommodations. During an investigation by the DFEH, the district told … Continue Reading

LAPD Failed To Reasonably Accommodate Recruits Who Were Injured While Training

Atkins v. City of Los Angeles, 2017 WL 588127 (Cal. Ct. App. 2017) A jury found that the City of Los Angeles violated the rights of five recruit officers of the LAPD under the Fair Employment and Housing Act when the Department terminated or constructively discharged them after they sustained injuries during training at the … Continue Reading

Routine Hugging Over 12-Year Period May Have Caused Hostile Work Environment

Zetwick v. County of Yolo, 2017 WL 710476 (9th Cir. 2017) Victoria Zetwick, a county correctional officer, alleged that the county sheriff created a sexually hostile environment in violation of Title VII and the California Fair Employment and Housing Act by, among other things, greeting her and other female employees with unwelcome hugs on more … Continue Reading

Actors’ Ages to Remain Available Online (At Least for Now)

A federal court has granted IMDb’s request for a preliminary injunction to allow the entertainment website to keep actors’ ages in their online profiles – despite the enactment of a statute in California prohibiting same. The lawsuit, IMDb.com, Inc. v. Becerra (Case No. 16-cv-06535-VC) was filed in response to the passage of A.B. 1687, which required … Continue Reading

Employee’s FEHA Retaliation Claim Was Properly Dismissed

Dinslage v. City & County of San Francisco, 5 Cal. App. 5th 368 (2016) David P. Dinslage is a former employee of the Recreation and Parks Department of the City and County of San Francisco. As a result of a large-scale restructuring of the Department, Dinslage’s employment classification was eliminated and he was laid off.  … Continue Reading

CA Governor Signs Bill Allowing Actors to Delete Their Age from Online Profiles

On September 24, 2016, California Gov. Jerry Brown signed A.B. 1687 – a measure aimed at preventing age discrimination against film, television, and other professionals in the entertainment industry whose ages could be viewed by casting directors and other potential employers.  As a result of this bill, industry professionals whose profiles are listed on commercial … Continue Reading

Race Discrimination Claim Was Not Barred By Statute Of Limitations

Mitchell v. California Dep’t of Public Health, 1 Cal. App. 5th 1000 (2016) Reginald Mitchell sued his former employer, the California Department of Public Health, for racial discrimination in violation of the Fair Employment and Housing Act (“FEHA”). The trial court sustained the employer’s demurrer based upon the statute of limitations, but the Court of … Continue Reading

Laid-Off Employee Could Proceed With Disability Discrimination Claims

Moore v. The Regents of the Univ. of Cal., 2016 WL 3434186 (Cal. Ct. App. 2016) Deborah Moore was employed as the Director of Marketing for the University of California San Diego (UCSD) until her job was eliminated shortly after she got a new supervisor who believed that the job functions that Moore was performing … 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 Wrongful Termination Claim Based Upon Work-Related Injury

Prue v. Brady Co./San Diego, Inc., 196 Cal. Rptr. 3d 68 (Cal. Ct. App. 2015) Adam Prue alleged wrongful termination of his employment based upon a work related injury, which violated the public policy set forth in Labor Code § 132a. The trial court granted the employer’s motion for summary judgment on the grounds that … Continue Reading

Disability Discrimination Claims Were Properly Dismissed On Summary Judgment

Nealy v. City of Santa Monica, 2015 WL 632228 (Cal. Ct. App. 2015) Tony Nealy worked as a solid waste equipment operator for the City of Santa Monica before injuring his knee in July 2003 while moving a large bin full of food waste. Nealy was temporarily totally disabled due to the injury until 2005 … 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

Franchisor Is Not Liable For Franchisee’s Alleged Sexual Harassment Of Its Employee

Patterson v. Domino’s Pizza, LLC, 2014 WL 4236175 (Cal. S. Ct. 2014) Taylor Patterson was hired by Sui Juris (a franchisee of Domino’s Pizza) to serve customers at its store.  Patterson alleged that she was sexually harassed by Renee Miranda, an adult male who held the title of assistant manager of the Sui Juris store.  … 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

“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

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

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

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

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

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

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

March 2014 California Employment Law Notes

$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
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