Taylor v. City of Los Angeles, 144 Cal. App. 4th 1216 (2006)

Eric Taylor, an electrical engineer employed by the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power, alleged that he suffered from multiple acts of retaliation by his supervisor (Bruce Hamer) after Taylor acted as a “supporting and material witness” on behalf of a former subordinate (Donald Coleman) in Coleman’s claim that he had been discriminated against when his employment was terminated for cause. Although the trial court sustained without leave to amend defendants’ demurrer to the retaliation claim, the Court of Appeal reversed the judgment, holding that Taylor had sufficiently alleged “adverse action” under both the “materiality test” under California law and the more liberal “deterrence test” adopted by the United States Supreme Court in Burlington N. & Santa Fe Ry. Co. v. White, 126 S. Ct. 2405 (2006). Although Taylor’s employment was not terminated, he alleged that Hamer stripped him of his supervisory position; threatened to terminate his 4-10 work schedule; barred him from completing supervisory certification courses; embarrassed him in front of a subordinate; excluded him from meetings; deprived him of information necessary to carry out his duties; undermined him, etc., all allegedly in retaliation for his having supported Coleman’s discrimination claim. The appellate court further held that a supervisor such as Hamer could be held personally liable for retaliation under the Fair Employment and Housing Act, and that the City’s alleged failure to prevent retaliation could be unlawful under the same Act. Compare Collins v. Hertz Corp., 144 Cal. App. 4th 64 (2006) (summary judgment for employer affirmed in discrimination, harassment, and retaliation case in which plaintiffs failed to follow procedural rules for opposing motion).

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Photo of Tony Oncidi Tony Oncidi

Anthony J. Oncidi is the co-chair of the Labor & Employment Law Department and heads the West Coast Labor & Employment group in the firm’s Los Angeles office.

Tony represents employers and management in all aspects of labor relations and employment law, including…

Anthony J. Oncidi is the co-chair of the Labor & Employment Law Department and heads the West Coast Labor & Employment group in the firm’s Los Angeles office.

Tony represents employers and management in all aspects of labor relations and employment law, including litigation and preventive counseling, wage and hour matters, including class actions, wrongful termination, employee discipline, Title VII and the California Fair Employment and Housing Act, executive employment contract disputes, sexual harassment training and investigations, workplace violence, drug testing and privacy issues, Sarbanes-Oxley claims and employee raiding and trade secret protection. A substantial portion of Tony’s practice involves the defense of employers in large class actions, employment discrimination, harassment and wrongful termination litigation in state and federal court as well as arbitration proceedings, including FINRA matters.

Tony is recognized as a leading lawyer by such highly respected publications and organizations as the Los Angeles Daily JournalThe Hollywood Reporter, and Chambers USA, which gives him the highest possible rating (“Band 1”) for Labor & Employment.  According to Chambers USA, clients say Tony is “brilliant at what he does… He is even keeled, has a high emotional IQ, is a great legal writer and orator, and never gives up.” Other clients report:  “Tony has an outstanding reputation” and he is “smart, cost effective and appropriately aggressive.” Tony is hailed as “outstanding,” particularly for his “ability to merge top-shelf lawyerly advice with pragmatic business acumen.” He is highly respected in the industry, with other commentators lauding him as a “phenomenal strategist” and “one of the top employment litigators in the country.”

“Tony is the author of the treatise titled Employment Discrimination Depositions (Juris Pub’g 2020; www.jurispub.com), co-author of Proskauer on Privacy (PLI 2020), and, since 1990, has been a regular columnist for the official publication of the Labor and Employment Law Section of the State Bar of California and the Los Angeles Daily Journal.

Tony has been a featured guest on Fox 11 News and CBS News in Los Angeles. He has been interviewed and quoted by leading national media outlets such as The National Law JournalBloomberg News, The New York Times, and Newsweek and Time magazines. Tony is a frequent speaker on employment law topics for large and small groups of employers and their counsel, including the Society for Human Resource Management (“SHRM”), PIHRA, the National CLE Conference, National Business Institute, the Employment Round Table of Southern California (Board Member), the Council on Education in Management, the Institute for Corporate Counsel, the State Bar of California, the California Continuing Education of the Bar Program and the Los Angeles and Beverly Hills Bar Associations. He has testified as an expert witness regarding wage and hour issues as well as the California Fair Employment and Housing Act and has served as a faculty member of the National Employment Law Institute. He has served as an arbitrator in an employment discrimination matter.

Tony is an appointed Hearing Examiner for the Los Angeles Police Commission Board of Rights and has served as an Adjunct Professor of Law and a guest lecturer at USC Law School and a guest lecturer at UCLA Law School.