Singleton v. United States Gypsum Co., 140 Cal. App. 4th 1547 (2006)

John Singleton, a maintenance mechanic employed by USG, was, according to the employer, terminated for having said words to the effect of “if we [have to] work on Christmas, I am going to come in here with a gun and shoot everybody except Sandy.” Singleton denied making the statement though he admitted to being angry about possibly having to work on Christmas and saying, “Now I know why some people go postal.” In his lawsuit, alleging sexual harassment and unlawful retaliation, among other things, Singleton asserted that prior to his termination he was subjected to harassing comments from two of his male coworkers who called him names (e.g., “Sing-a-ling”) and who talked about his performing oral sex on them and their engaging in anal sex with him. Singleton further testified that his supervisors ignored his complaints about these statements that made his employment a “living hell.” The Court of Appeal reversed the summary judgment that had been entered in favor of the employer, concluding there was sufficient evidence to create a triable issue of material fact. See also Burlington Northern & Santa Fe Ry. Co. v. White, 548 U.S. 53, 126 S. Ct. 2405 (2006) (reassignment of female employee’s duties and suspension without pay – followed by reinstatement and provision of backpay – constituted retaliation in violation of Title VII); Blum v. Superior Court, 141 Cal. App. 4th 418 (2006) (employee’s attorney – instead of employee himself – may verify DFEH complaint).