Ramanathan v. Bank of America, 155 Cal. App. 4th 1017 (2007)

Padmanabhan Ramanathan alleged he was discriminated against and harassed as a result of his religion (Hindu), race (Asian) and national origin. In its summary judgment motion, the Bank asserted that Ramanathan was a “Vice President” who served “at the pleasure” of the board of directors pursuant to the National Bank Act (12 U.S.C. § 24 (Fifth)). The Bank described Ramanathan’s job as being a “web architect” who provided and evaluated technology solutions for the Bank’s business operations. The Court of Appeal reversed the summary judgment that had been granted in favor of the Bank, holding that notwithstanding his title, Ramanathan was essentially a “computer programming consultant” and not an “officer” within the meaning of the statute. Compare Fitz-Gerald v. SkyWest Airlines, Inc., 155 Cal. App. 4th 411 (2007) (flight attendants’ claims for Labor Code violations were preempted by the Railway Labor Act).