California Employment Law Update

Category Archives: Wrongful Termination

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Employer Can Recover $90,000 In Costs From Employee Who Rejected Multiple Settlement Offers

Sviridov v. City of San Diego, 2017 WL 3493855 (Cal. Ct. App. 2017) Aleksei Sviridov, a former police officer for the City of San Diego, was terminated from his job in 2007, reinstated in 2008 and then failed to return to work thereafter, which resulted in a second termination. Following years of litigation and three … Continue Reading

Garbage Truck Employee Who Failed To Provide Proof Of Right To Work Could Proceed With Age Discrimination Claim

Santillan v. USA Waste of Cal., 853 F.3d 1035 (9th Cir. 2017) Gilberto Santillan, a 53-year-old garbage truck driver in Manhattan Beach, was employed for 32 years before his employment was terminated by a new route manager (Steve Kobzoff) after Santillan had four accidents in a 12-month period. Santillan disputed that he had four accidents … Continue Reading

Employee Who Suffered From “Altered Mental State” Need Not Be Allowed To Rescind Her Resignation

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 … Continue Reading

A handy guide for choosing and using employment practices liability insurance coverage

Thompson Reuters has just published our “handy guide” for choosing and using employment practices liability insurance (“EPLI”).  The article is attached.  There are a number of important things to keep in mind when considering your options and using these insurance policies if and when an employment claim is made or threatened.  Please let one of our employment … Continue Reading

Millwrights Could Proceed With Hostile Work Environment Claim

Reynaga v. Roseburg Forest Prods., 847 F.3d 678 (9th Cir. 2017) Efrain Reynaga and his son Richard Reynaga, who worked as millwrights for Roseburg Forest Products, were the only millwrights of Mexican descent at the company. Efrain alleged that during the course of his employment he was subjected to disparate treatment and a hostile work … Continue Reading

Employer May Have Discriminated Against Female Supervisor Based On Gender

Mayes v. WinCo Holdings, Inc., 846 F.3d 1274 (9th Cir. 2017) Katie Mayes worked at WinCo for 12 years in Idaho Falls, Idaho. During her last years at WinCo, she supervised employees on the night-shift freight crew. Mayes was fired for taking a stale cake from the store bakery to the break room to share … Continue Reading

Employee’s Wrongful Termination Claim Was Properly Dismissed, But Other Claims Survive

Goonewardene v. ADP, LLC, 5 Cal. App. 5th 154 (2016) In her fifth amended complaint, Sharmalene Goonewardene alleged claims against her former employer (ADP) for wrongful termination, violation of the Labor Code, breach of contract, negligent misrepresentation and negligence. The trial court sustained ADP’s demurrer to the complaint without further leave to amend, and the … Continue Reading

Discrimination Claims Against Media Company Are Not Barred By Anti-SLAPP Statute

Wilson v. Cable News Network, Inc., 2016 WL 7217201 (Cal. Ct. App. 2016) Stanley Wilson alleged discrimination, retaliation, wrongful termination and defamation against CNN, et al., where he worked as a television producer before his employment was terminated following an audit of his work involving suspected plagiarism.  Defendants answered the complaint and then filed a … Continue Reading

New Notice Regarding Domestic Violence, Sexual Assault And Stalking Protections

Existing law prohibits an employer from discharging or in any manner discriminating or retaliating against an employee who is a victim of domestic violence, sexual assault, or stalking for taking time off from work for specified purposes related to addressing the domestic violence, sexual assault, or stalking. This bill requires employers to inform each employee … Continue Reading

Supervisor’s Wrongful Termination Claim Was Not Preempted By The NLRA

Dang v. Maruichi Am. Corp., 207 Cal. Rptr. 3d 658 (Cal. Ct. App. 2016) Khanh Dang sued his former employer for wrongful termination in violation of public policy, claiming that Maruichi had discharged him for engaging in concerted activity relating to unionizing efforts. The trial court granted Maruichi’s motion for summary judgment on the ground … Continue Reading

Indian Tribe Did Not Waive Its Sovereign Immunity By Removing Lawsuit To Federal Court

Bodi v. Shingle Springs Band of Miwok Indians, 2016 WL 4183518 (9th Cir. 2016) The Shingle Springs Band of Miwok Indians is a federally-recognized Indian tribe located on the Shingle Springs Rancheria in California. Beth A. Bodi, a member of the tribe, worked at the tribe’s full-service health clinic. Bodi’s employment was terminated after she … Continue Reading

Terminated Employee Could Proceed With Tortious Interference Claims Against Apple

Popescu v. Apple Inc., 2016 WL 3578970 (Cal. Ct. App. 2016) Dan Popescu sued Apple Inc. for damages after he was fired by his employer, Constellium Rolled Products Ravenswood, LLC. Popescu alleged that Apple took affirmative steps to convince Constellium to fire him in retaliation for his resistance to Apple’s alleged anticompetitive conduct. The trial … 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 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

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

Employee Could Proceed With Whistleblower Claim Based On Suspected Commercial Bribery

Ferrick v. Santa Clara Univ., 231 Cal. App. 4th 1337 (2014) Linda Ferrick, a former senior administrator for Santa Clara University, claimed the termination of her employment resulted from her reporting that her supervisor had engaged in what Ferrick believed to be commercial bribery as part of a “kickback scheme.” The trial court sustained the … Continue Reading

Employee Could Proceed With Whistleblower Lawsuit Based On Employer’s Mistaken Belief She Had Complained

Diego v. Pilgrim United Church of Christ, 231 Cal. App. 4th 913 (2014) Cecilia Diego, the former assistant director of Pilgrim United’s preschool, sued her former employer for retaliation in violation of public policy that resulted from the director’s mistaken belief that Diego had lodged a complaint with the California Department of Social Services, which … Continue Reading

Police Officer’s ADHD Was Not a Disability Within The Meaning of the ADA

Weaving v. City of Hillsboro, 2014 WL 3973411 (9th Cir. 2014) Matthew Weaving worked as a police officer for the City of Hillsboro for approximately three years before his employment was terminated due to “severe interpersonal problems” between him and other employees of the police department.  Weaving contended that his interpersonal problems resulted from his … Continue Reading

LAPD Officer Properly Prevailed In FLSA Anti-Retaliation Claim

Avila v. Los Angeles Police Dep’t, 2014 WL 3361123 (9th Cir. 2014) Leonard Avila, a police officer with the Los Angeles Police Department, periodically worked through his lunch breaks and did not claim overtime.  After Avila testified in a lawsuit brought by another officer who sought overtime under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), Avila … 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

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

Employees Of Contractors Of Public Companies May Sue For Retaliation Under Sarbanes-Oxley Act

Lawson v. FMR LLC, 571 U.S. ___, 134 S. Ct. 1158 (2014) Plaintiffs in this case are former employees of private companies that contract to advise or manage mutual funds (collectively, “FMR”). Both plaintiffs allege that they “blew the whistle” on putative fraud relating to the mutual funds and as a result suffered retaliation from … 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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