Nadaf-Rahrov v. Neiman Marcus Group, Inc., 166 Cal. App. 4th 952 (2008)

Forough Nadaf-Rahrov worked as a clothes fitter for Neiman Marcus in Dallas before transferring to San Francisco in the mid- 1990s. She suffered from recurrent back and joint pain and was diagnosed with carpal tunnel syndrome and osteoarthritis. In November 2003, she commenced a requested family medical leave of absence, which was extended at least four times over the following nine months. By the time Neiman Marcus terminated Nadaf-Rahrov’s employment, after several leave extensions, she did not have a release from her doctor to perform her job duties, and she had exhausted her remaining sick and vacation benefits. After her termination, Nadaf-Rahrov sued Neiman Marcus for disability discrimination under the California Fair Employment and Housing Act (“FEHA”) and for wrongful termination in violation of public policy. Although the trial court granted the employer’s motion for summary judgment, the Court of Appeal reversed, holding that there was a triable issue of fact whether Neiman Marcus could have but did not provide her with a reasonable accommodation in the form of a reassignment to a vacant position. Similarly, the Court held the employer may have caused a breakdown in the interactive process by failing to provide information to the employee about available positions that might have assisted her and her physician in preparing a list of work-related medical restrictions. The Court affirmed dismissal of the employee’s claim for retaliation, but reversed dismissal of her claims for national origin and ethic discrimination and ruled that she was entitled to additional discovery responses concerning available positions. Cf. Mangano v. Verity, Inc., 167 Cal. App. 4th 944 (2008) (employer that served plaintiff with a Code of Civ. Proc. § 998 settlement offer before obtaining summary judgment of disability discrimination claims was properly awarded its expert witness fees, but it was not entitled to recover its attorneys’ fees); Anthony v. City of Los Angeles, 166 Cal. App. 4th 1011 (2008) (prevailing plaintiff in FEHA retaliation case was properly awarded expert witness fees).

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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;, 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.