California Employment Law Update

Category Archives: Sexual Harassment

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Sexual Harassment Claim Was Barred By Statute Of Limitations

Trovato v. Beckman Coulter, Inc., 192 Cal. App. 4th 319 (2011) Irene Trovato, who was employed as a sales representative for Beckman Coulter, submitted a letter of resignation on May 14, 2007, with an effective date of May 25, 2007. On May 8, 2008, Trovato filed an administrative complaint against Beckman and her former supervisor, … Continue Reading

Employee’s Lawyer Should Not Be Present During Client’s Psych Exam

Toyota v. Superior Court, 189 Cal. App. 4th 1391 (2010) Steven Braun sued Toyota Motor Sales and his supervisor Randall Bauer for gender discrimination, sexual harassment, defamation, constructive discharge and intentional and negligent infliction of emotional distress. Toyota and Bauer filed a motion to compel Braun to submit to an independent psychiatric examination, which the … Continue Reading

Male Victim Of Sexual Harassment By Female Co-Worker May Proceed With Lawsuit

EEOC v. Prospect Airport Servs., 2010 WL 3448119 (9th Cir. 2010) Rudolpho Lamas and Sylvia Munoz were co-workers employed by Prospect Airport Services, Inc. at McCarran Airport in Las Vegas. Lamas, whose wife died in September 2001, began working at Prospect in the spring of 2002. During the fall of 2002, Munoz, who was married, … Continue Reading

Male Pilots Terminated For Harassing Flight Attendant Were Not Victims Of Discrimination

Hawn v. Executive Jet Mgmt., Inc., 621 F.3d 991 (2010) Gregory Hawn, Michael Prince and Aric Aldrich (all pilots) were terminated by Executive Jet Management after a female flight attendant, Robin McCrea, alleged they had sexually harassed her and created a hostile work environment involving an array of conduct including sexualized banter, crude jokes and … Continue Reading

Trustee Of Estate Did Not Sexually Harass Widow

Hughes v. Pair, 46 Cal. 4th 1035 (2009) Suzan Hughes, the third wife of Herbalife founder Mark Hughes, sued Christopher Pair, one of the three trustees of Mark’s estate, for sexual harassment under Civil Code § 51.9 (which prohibits sexual harassment in certain business, service and professional relationships) and for intentional infliction of emotional distress. … Continue Reading

Patient Could Proceed With Lawsuit Against Hospital Based On Employee’s Alleged Sexual Abuse

C.R. v. Tenet Healthcare Corp., 169 Cal. App. 4th 1094 (2009) In this class action, C.R. sued Tenet Healthcare for sexual harassment in violation of Civil Code § 51.9 (prohibiting sexual harassment by a health care provider), negligence and intentional infliction of emotional distress based upon nursing assistant Ramon Eduardo Gaspar’s alleged sexual touching of … Continue Reading

Employee Who Was Interviewed During Internal Investigation Was Protected From Retaliation

Crawford v. Metropolitan Gov’t of Nashville & Davidson County, 555 U.S. 271 (2009) Vicky Crawford was interviewed during the course of an investigation into “rumors of sexual harassment” involving the Metro School District’s employee relations director, Gene Hughes. Crawford described several instances of sexually harassing behavior that Hughes allegedly directed at her; two other employees … Continue Reading

Employee May Proceed With Sexual Orientation Discrimination Claim

Dominguez v. Washington Mut. Bank, 168 Cal. App. 4th 714 (2008) Yoko Dominguez, a former temporary employee of Washington Mutual assigned to processing outgoing mail, alleged that a co-worker (Javier Gutierrez) had made crude and offensive comments to her after learning that Dominguez was a lesbian. Dominguez complained about Gutierrez’s comments to her supervisor’s supervisor … Continue Reading

Court Affirms Judgment And Attorney’s Fees Award To Employee Who Suffered Retaliation

Steele v. Youthful Offender Parole Bd., 162 Cal. App. 4th 1241 (2008) Lisa Steele worked as an office assistant/receptionist for the YOPB. In her spare time, Steele competed in several bikini contests that were sponsored by a local radio station. On the day of the final contest, Raul Galindo, chairman of the YOPB, asked Steele … Continue Reading

Social Worker Was An Employee Within The Meaning Of The FEHA And Was Sexually Harassed

Bradley v. California Dep’t of Corrections & Rehabilitation, 158 Cal. App. 4th 1612 (2008) Sallie Mae Bradley worked temporarily at a California prison as a licensed clinical social worker. Bradley sued the California Department of Corrections (“CDC”) for sexual harassment directed at her by the prison’s Muslim chaplain, Omar Shakir. The jury awarded her $300,000 … Continue Reading

Evidence Supported Whistleblower Retaliation Claim But Not Sexual Harassment

Mokler v. County of Orange, 157 Cal. App. 4th 121 (2007) Pamela Mokler was employed as the executive director of the County’s Office on Aging (“OoA”). Following her termination, she sued the County for breach of contract, wrongful termination, hostile work environment and unlawful retaliation under Labor Code § 1102.5 (the “whistleblower statute”). The jury … Continue Reading

Discrimination And Sexual Harassment Suit Properly Dismissed On Summary Judgment

Jones v. California Dep’t of Corrections and Rehabilitation, 152 Cal. App. 4th 1367 (2007) Kim C. Jones worked as a correctional officer at the R.J. Donovan Correctional Facility for approximately 16 years before experiencing alleged gender discrimination, sexual harassment, race discrimination, assault and battery and intentional and negligent infliction of emotional distress. The trial court … Continue Reading

$30 Million Punitive Damages Award In Sexual Harassment Case Was Properly Reversed

Gober v. Ralphs Grocery Co., 128 Cal. App. 4th 648 (2005) The jury awarded Dianne Gober and five other employees of Ralphs a total of $550,000 in compensatory damages and punitive damages in the amount of $30 million as a result of sexual harassment they suffered in the workplace. The trial court conditionally granted a … Continue Reading

Female Electrician Failed To Establish Gender Discrimination

Mondero v. Salt River Project, 400 F.3d 1207 (9th Cir. 2005) Sylvia Mondero sued the Salt River Project under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, alleging gender discrimination associated with the Project’s failure to give her the opportunity to serve as an operations journeyman in an experimental program offered to several male … Continue Reading

“Friends” Producers Could Not Use “Creative Necessity” As Absolute Defense To Sexual Harassment Complaint

Lyle v. Warner Bros. Television Prods., 38 Cal. App. 4th 264 (2004) The producers of the television show "Friends" hired Amaani Lyle as a writers’ assistant in June of 1999 and terminated her employment four months later based, they said, on her poor job performance and deficient typing skills. Among other things, Lyle alleged that … Continue Reading

Restaurant’s Tip-Pooling Policy Violated California Law

Jameson v. Five Feet Restaurant, Inc., 107 Cal. App. 4th 138 (2003) Karla Jameson, a former server at Five Feet Restaurant, sued the restaurant for sexual harassment, retaliation, and unpaid wages, among other things, following her resignation in 1999. At trial, the jury found that although Jameson had not been sexually harassed, she had been … Continue Reading

Employer Was Not Vicariously Liable For Employee’s Sexual Misconduct

Doe 1 v. City of Murrieta, 102 Cal. App. 4th 899 (2002) In this case, a Murrieta police officer sexually abused two 16- year-old girls who were participants in the Murrieta Police Department’s Explorer Program. The minors alleged that the City of Murrieta was vicariously liable for the police officer’s sexual misconduct. The trial court … Continue Reading

Workers’ Compensation Release Barred Sexual Harassment Claim

Jefferson v. California Dep’t of Youth Authority, 28 Cal. 4th 299 (2002) Mary Jefferson worked as a part-time teacher’s assistant at a high school. After the teacher and his students allegedly subjected Jefferson to sexually offensive conduct, she filed a workers’ compensation claim in which she sought benefits for “psychological factors affecting physical condition.” Jefferson … Continue Reading

Trial Court Should Have Considered Evidence Of Supervisor’s Retaliatory Motive

Colarossi v. Coty US Inc., 97 Cal. App. 4th 1142 (2002) In this case of alleged wrongful termination in violation of public policy, Kimberly Colarossi alleged that her employment was terminated after she participated as a witness in an investigation of sexual harassment by a manager at the company (Deborah Bassett). The trial court excluded … Continue Reading

No Common Law Cause Of Action For Sexual Harassment

Medix Ambulance Serv., Inc. v. Superior Court, 97 Cal. App. 4th 109 (2002) Plaintiff alleged a claim for sexual harassment arising under the California Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA) as well as a common law cause of action for sexual harassment in violation of public policy. The trial court overruled the employer’s demurrer without … Continue Reading
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