California Employment Law Update

Tag Archives: disability discrimination

It’s Time to Think About Arbitration Agreements Again Following Recent $15 Million+ Employee Verdicts

Jury panels in the Los Angeles Superior Court (which is often referred to as “The Bank” by the plaintiffs’ bar) have recently delivered multimillion-dollar verdicts to former-employee plaintiffs.  Many employers doing business in California already have insulated themselves from such disasters by adopting comprehensive arbitration regimes, which would require that such cases be heard by a retired … 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’s Inability To Work For A Particular Supervisor Does Not Constitute A “Disability”

Higgins-Williams v. Sutter Med. Found., 237 Cal. App. 4th 78 (2015) Michaelin Higgins-Williams worked as a clinical assistant in Sutter’s Shared Services Department. Higgins-Williams reported to her treating physician that she was stressed because of interactions at work with human resources and her manager. Her physician diagnosed Higgins-Williams with “adjustment disorder with anxiety,” and Sutter … 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

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

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

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

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

March 2012 California Employment Law Notes

We invite you to review our newly-posted March 2012 California Employment Law Notes – a comprehensive review of the latest and most significant developments in California employment law. The highlights include: Teacher/Minister’s Disability Discrimination Claim Is Barred By The First Amendment Community College Employee Is Entitled To New Trial On Whistleblower Claims LAPD Officer’s $2.1 … Continue Reading

Employee With Bipolar Disorder Who Threatened Co-Workers Was Not Discriminated Against On The Basis Of Her Disability

Wills v. Superior Court, 194 Cal. App. 4th 312 (2011) Linda Wills, who worked as a clerk for the Orange County Superior Court, was terminated from her employment after she told co-workers she was going to add them to her “Kill Bill” list and forwarded a cell phone ringtone to several people, including a co-worker, … Continue Reading

Termination Of Disabled Employee Did Not Violate FEHA

Milan v. City of Holtville, 186 Cal. App. 4th 1028 (2010) Tanya Milan, who worked as a water treatment operator for the City of Holtville, was injured on the job while moving a large piece of metal. After Milan applied for workers’ compensation benefits, a physician who had been retained on behalf of the city, … Continue Reading

June 23, 2010 MCLE Telephonic Employment Law Seminar

On Wednesday, June 23, 2010, I will be speaking at the 2010 Employment Law Update telephonic conference sponsored by CEB.  It is always a lively and informative program, and I encourage you to enroll.  The program runs from 1:00 p.m. to 2 p.m. (Pacific).  One hour of MCLE credit is available. Details after the break.… Continue Reading

Disabled Employee May Have Been Able To Perform Essential Functions Of A Different Job

Nadaf-Rahrov v. Neiman Marcus Group, Inc., 166 Cal. App. 4th 952 (2008) Forough Nadaf-Rahrov worked as a clothes fitter for Neiman Marcus in Dallas before transferring to San Francisco in the mid- 1990s. She suffered from recurrent back and joint pain and was diagnosed with carpal tunnel syndrome and osteoarthritis. In November 2003, she commenced … Continue Reading

Catering Employee Could Proceed With Family Leave Claim, But Not Disability Claim

Avila v. Continental Airlines, Inc., 165 Cal. App. 4th 1237 (2008) Henry Avila sued his employer, Chelsea Food Services (a division of Continental Airlines), following his termination for excessive absences from work. Avila sued for disability discrimination and for violation of his rights under the California Family Rights Act (“CFRA”). The trial court granted summary … Continue Reading

Employee Who Reported Disability During Investigation Into His Alleged Wrongdoing Was Not Discriminated Against

Arteaga v. Brink’s, Inc., 163 Cal. App. 4th 327 (2008) Brink’s employee Carlos Arteaga was the subject of an internal investigation into various shortages totaling $7,668 that occurred while he was acting in his capacity as an ATM messenger. The investigation was conducted after one of Arteaga’s managers noticed there had been 16 shortages in … Continue Reading

Marijuana Compassionate Use Act Did Not Protect Employee From Termination

Ross v. Ragingwire Telecommunications, Inc., 42 Cal. 4th 920 (2008) In accordance with the Compassionate Use Act of 1996 (Proposition 215), Gary Ross had a physician’s recommendation to use marijuana for his chronic back pain. Ragingwire offered Ross a job as a lead systems administrator subject to his passing a drug test, which he failed … Continue Reading

UPS May Not Have Violated The ADA By Excluding Deaf Drivers Who Failed To Satisfy DOT Hearing Standard

Bates v. United Parcel Serv., 511 F.3d 974 (9th Cir. 2007) (en banc) One of the requirements applied by UPS to those applicants seeking to drive the familiar brown “package cars” was that they pass the physical examination (including a hearing exam) that the DOT requires of drivers of commercial vehicles of a gross vehicle weight … Continue Reading

Employee’s Age Discrimination Lawsuit Can Proceed Against Google

Reid v. Google, Inc., 155 Cal. App. 4th 1342 (2007) Brian Reid, who was employed for fewer than two years as Google’s Director of Operations and its Director of Engineering, sued Google after his termination, alleging age and disability discrimination, intentional and negligent infliction of emotional distress and related claims. Reid was 54 years old … Continue Reading

Disabled Employee Bears Burden Of Proving Ability To Perform Essential Duties Of The Job

Green v. State of Cal., 2007 WL 2388920 (Cal. S. Ct. Aug. 23, 2007) Dwight Green worked as a stationary engineer for the Department of Corrections at the California Institute for Men in Chino. Seven years after contracting hepatitis C (presumably from the sewer pipes at the Institute), Green began taking the drug interferon, which … Continue Reading

Employee Who Falsified Timecard Was Not Terminated Because Of His Disability

King v. United Parcel Serv., 2007 WL 1493316 (Cal. Ct. App. 2007) Richard King, a supervisorial employee who had worked for UPS for almost 30 years, was terminated for an “integrity violation” involving the falsification of a driver’s timecard. In his lawsuit, King alleged that UPS had terminated him because he was diagnosed with a … Continue Reading

Fire Captain Who Lost His Leg Was Not Discriminated Against On Basis Of Disability

Malais v. Los Angeles City Fire Dep’t, 2007 WL 1229335 (Cal. Ct. App. 2007) Gregory Malais, a Captain II with the Los Angeles City Fire Department, sued the Department for disability discrimination in violation of the Fair Employment and Housing Act when he was given a special-duty assignment following the partial amputation of one of … Continue Reading

Employee Entitled To New Trial On Disability Claim

Gambini v. Total Renal Care, Inc., 2007 WL 686350 (9th Cir. Mar. 8, 2007) Stephanie Gambini sued her former employer, Total Renal Care, Inc., d/b/a DaVita, Inc., alleging that it had discriminated against her in violation of Washington state law prohibiting disability discrimination and the federal Family Medical Leave Act. Gambini was terminated from her … Continue Reading

UPS Violated ADA By Excluding Deaf Drivers Who Failed To Satisfy DOT Hearing Standard

Bates v. United Parcel Serv., 465 F.3d 1069 (9th Cir. 2006) One of the requirements applied by UPS to those applicants seeking to drive the familiar brown “package cars” was that they pass the physical examination (including a hearing exam) that the DOT requires of drivers of commercial vehicles of a gross vehicle weight rating … Continue Reading

Disability Harassment Judgment Reversed, $15 Million Punitive Damages Award Reduced

Roby v. McKesson HBOC, 2006 WL 3775897 (Cal. Ct. App. Dec. 26, 2006) After doing a “stellar” job for 25 years and working as a customer service support liaison for McKesson, Charlene Roby developed a panic disorder and began missing substantial amounts of time from work. McKesson fired Roby for abusing its attendance policy, though … Continue Reading
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