Faust v. California Portland Cement Co., 150 Cal. App. 4th 864 (2007)

After Michael Faust notified his plant manager that various unnamed employees had engaged in internal theft and misconduct, the plant manager informed Faust’s supervisor of the allegations who in turn warned Faust’s co-workers to “watch their backs” around Faust. Faust, who received the “cold shoulder” from his coworkers, soon began to experience shortness of breath, confusion, panic attacks and feelings of despair before starting a 30-day psychiatric program at Kaiser Permanente. Faust also experienced severe lower back pain, began undergoing chiropractic treatment and filed a workers’ compensation claim. Faust submitted a medical certification form from his chiropractor that recommended physiotherapy, chiropractic therapy and rest and stated Faust was unable to perform regular job duties for a month. The human resources manager (Crystal Andersen) called Faust’s home and then sent him a letter questioning the chiropractor’s note, saying it was inappropriate (it was not a physician’s note) and incomplete (it requested modified work, not an absence from work). Faust’s workers’ compensation lawyer advised him not to respond to the letter. The company failed to notify Faust of his right to take medical leave under the California Family Rights Act (CFRA) or the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA). Faust’s employment was terminated because “the paperwork [he] submitted was insufficient to sustain an approved absence from work.” The Court of Appeal reversed the summary judgment that had been entered in favor of the employer, holding that the company had improperly failed to give Faust notice of his CFRA/FMLA leave rights. Cf. Davis v. Los Angeles Unified School Dist., 2007 WL 1839285 (Cal. Ct. App. 2007) (wrongfully demoted employee who was medically unable to return to work was not entitled to backpay or reinstatement).

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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.