Walrath v. Sprinkel, 99 Cal. App. 4th 1237 (2002)

Richard Walrath sued his former employer, Hatcher Press, Inc., for wrongful demotion and discrimination, among other things, and joined his former supervisor in a claim for retaliation in violation of public policy. In his lawsuit, Walrath alleged that he had been retaliated against for complaining about being passed over for a job by younger workers. The trial court granted the supervisor’s motion for summary judgment on the ground that a supervisor (unlike an employer) cannot be held liable for retaliation. The Court of Appeal reversed, holding that although the California Supreme Court’s opinion in Reno v. Baird, 18 Cal. 4th 640 (1998) interprets the Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA) as insulating a supervisor from a claim of discrimination, the FEHA does not similarly preclude a retaliation claim such as the one alleged in this case.