California Employment Law Update

Tag Archives: harassment

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 Who Was Working Elsewhere During Medical Leave Of Absence Was Properly Terminated

Richey v. AutoNation, Inc., 182 Cal. Rptr. 3d 644 (Cal. S. Ct. 2015) Avery Richey worked for Power Toyota Cerritos, part of the AutoNation consortium of automobile dealerships, for approximately four years before allegedly injuring his back while moving furniture at his home. Following the injury, Richey applied for and was granted a medical leave … Continue Reading

Liability For Employer’s Harassment, False Imprisonment Of Employees Was Not Covered By Insurance

Jon Davler, Inc. v. Arch Ins. Co., 229 Cal. App. 4th 1025 (2014) After one of the owners of Jon Davler, Inc. (Christina Yang) found a used sanitary napkin in the women’s bathroom and blood around the toilet seat, she started yelling at the employees that they were “dirty” and demanded to know which of … 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

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

Employee From Pakistan Could Proceed With Religion And National Origin Harassment Claims

Rehmani v. Superior Court, 204 Cal. App. 4th 945 (2012) Mustafa Rehmani, a Muslim born in Pakistan, worked as a system test engineer for Ericsson Inc. before his employment was terminated in 2009. Among other things, Rehmani alleged that three of his coworkers (Amit Patel, Aneel Choppa and Ashit Ghevaria) and Ericsson harassed him based … 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

Jury Awards Record $168 Million to Employee in Workplace Harassment Suit

A federal court jury on Wednesday awarded a record $168 million to a physician’s assistant who complained of multiple instances of sexual harassment by her supervisors in the cardiovascular surgery department at Sacramento’s Mercy General Hospital. The verdict is believed to be the largest ever awarded to a single plaintiff in an employment case. The … Continue Reading

“Me Too” Evidence Was Relevant to and Admissible in Discrimination Lawsuit

Pantoja v. Anton, 198 Cal. App. 4th 87 (2011) Lorraine Pantoja sued attorney Thomas J. Anton and his firm for wrongful termination, violation of the Fair Employment and Housing Act (“FEHA”), battery, sexual battery and intentional infliction of emotional distress. By the time of the trial, only the FEHA claims remained. In their motions in … Continue Reading

Employer’s Anti-SLAPP Motion Was Properly Denied

Martin v. Inland Empire Utilities Agency, 198 Cal. App. 4th 611 (2011) Dean Martin, who worked as the executive manager of finance and administration of the municipal water district for the City of Chino, alleged retaliation, racial and age discrimination and harassment, defamation and constructive wrongful termination. In response, defendants filed a demurrer and an … Continue Reading

July 2011 California Employment Law Notes

We invite you to review our newly posted July 2011 California Employment Law Notes — a comprehensive review of the latest and most significant developments in California employment law.  The highlights include: Class Of 1.5 Million Female Wal-Mart Employees Was Improperly Certified Arizona Law Requiring Use Of E-Verify Is Upheld U.S. Court Has Jurisdiction Over Argentinean Employees’ … Continue Reading

ADA “Impliedly Amended” The National Bank Act’s Termination-at-Pleasure Clause

Quinn v. U.S. Bank, N.A., 196 Cal. App. 4th 168 (2011) Robert Quinn, a former senior vice president of U.S. Bank, alleged he was denied accommodation, harassed and terminated because of a physical disability in violation of the Fair Employment and Housing Act. U.S. Bank obtained summary judgment from the trial court on the ground … Continue Reading

New Trial Ordered In Police Officer’s Case Alleging Discrimination and Retaliation

Grobeson v. City of Los Angeles, 190 Cal.App.4th 778 (2010) A jury rejected Mitchell Grobeson’s claims against the City of Los Angeles and Daniel Watson for alleged unlawful discrimination, harassment, retaliation and constructive discharge. The trial court granted Grobeson’s motion for a new trial based on juror misconduct, and the Court of Appeal affirmed except … Continue Reading

Employee Could Proceed With Disability Discrimination And Harassment Claims

Stiefel v. Bechtel Corp., 624 F.3d 1240 (2010) James Richard Stiefel worked for Bechtel as an ironworker at a power plant. Five weeks before he was laid off, Stiefel injured his left hand while on the job. In his lawsuit, Stiefel alleged Bechtel laid him off as part of a “medical reduction in force,” which … Continue Reading

White Police Officer Was Not Terminated In Retaliation For Reporting Alleged Harassment Of Black Employee

Thompson v. City of Monrovia, 186 Cal. App. 4th 860 (2010) Officer Matthew Donald Thompson sued the Monrovia Police Department for harassment and a hostile work environment arising from offensive remarks and behavior that were allegedly directed at an African-American colleague. Thompson also alleged he suffered retaliation for having reported the racism. The trial court … Continue Reading

Supreme Court Approves Denial Of Employee’s Request For $871,000 In Attorney’s Fees

Chavez v. City of Los Angeles, 47 Cal. 4th 970 (2010) Over the course of six years, Robert Chavez, a Los Angeles Police Department officer, and his wife filed multiple lawsuits against the LAPD and other members of the LAPD, alleging a variety of claims involving discrimination, harassment and retaliation. In this particular lawsuit, Chavez … Continue Reading

Sexual Harassment Claim Was Erroneously Dismissed On Summary Judgment

Myers v. Trendwest Resorts, Inc., 56 Cal. Rptr. 3d 501 (Ct. App. 2007) Alissa Myers, a salesperson, alleged that her supervisor, Ayman Damlahki, had sexually harassed her with numerous unwanted and unwelcome sexual advances, comments, innuendoes of a sexual nature, and numerous non-consensual physical contacts with her body, all of which created an intimidating, oppressive, … 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

“Friends” Typist Was Not Subjected To Hostile Environment Sexual Harassment

Lyle v. Warner Bros. Television Productions, 38 Cal. 4th 264 (2006) Amaani Lyle was terminated after four months of working as a typist in the writers’ room of the producers of the television show “Friends.” Following her termination because she could not type (contended the producers), Lyle asserted, among other things, that she had been … Continue Reading

Sales Manager’s Sexual Harassment Claim Against Female Station Manager Was Properly Dismissed

Hardage v. CBS Broadcasting, Inc., 427 F.3d 1177 (9th Cir. 2005) Hugh Hardage, a Local Sales Manager for KSTW-TV in Seattle, alleged that he was sexually harassed by Kathy Sparks, the station’s General Manager, who worked in Tacoma. Hardage claimed that he had been sexually harassed by Sparks on several occasions and subjected to retaliation … 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

Cal State Employee May Proceed With Constructive Wrongful Termination Claim

Colores v. Bd. of Trustees of the Cal. State Univ., 105 Cal. App. 4th 1293 (2003) Lillian Colores, a former director of procurement, contracts and support services for California State University, Los Angeles, alleged that she was constructively terminated in violation of public policy. Nine years after she began working at the university (and 12 … Continue Reading
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