Scotch v. Art Inst. of Cal.-Orange County, Inc., 173 Cal. App. 4th 986 (2009)

Carmine Scotch sued his former employer, the Art Institute of California-Orange County, Inc. (“AIC”) for discrimination based on his disability (HIV), failure to make reasonable accommodation, failure to engage in the required interactive process, failure to maintain a workplace free of discrimination, and retaliation. The Court of Appeal affirmed summary judgment in favor of AIC on all counts, holding that Scotch had failed to prove a causal link between his revelation that he was HIV-positive and the challenged adverse employment decision (assigning him to teach fewer than five course sections during an academic term). The Court further held the accommodation that Scotch sought (giving him priority in assignment of courses to ensure that he would teach five courses during the term) was not reasonable. Finally, the Court held that Scotch had failed to identify a reasonable accommodation that would have been available at the time the interactive process should have occurred, so any failure on AIC’s part to engage in that process was not “material.” The Court also found no evidence of constructive termination of Scotch’s employment or illegal retaliation. Cf. Knappenberger v. City of Phoenix, 566 F.3d 936 (9th Cir. 2009) (plaintiff failed to allege facts which, if true, would establish his early retirement from police department was involuntary and a violation of 42 U.S.C. § 1983).