Dutra v. Mercy Med. Ctr. Mt. Shasta, 209 Cal. App. 4th 750 (2012)

Michelle Dutra sued Mercy Medical Center for wrongful termination in violation of public policy based upon Cal. Labor Code § 132a (prohibiting discrimination against an employee who has filed a workers’ compensation claim). After a jury was selected, the trial court granted Mercy’s motion to dismiss on the ground that the Workers’ Compensation Appeals Board (“WCAB”) has exclusive jurisdiction to adjudicate claims under section 132a. (Dutra declined the trial court’s invitation to amend her complaint to allege additional claims.) The Court of Appeal affirmed dismissal after distinguishing City of Moorpark v. Superior Court, 18 Cal. 4th 1143 (1998) and concluding that section 132a does not provide a basis for a common law wrongful termination claim because “allowing plaintiff to pursue a tort cause of action based on a violation of section 132a would impermissibly give her broader remedies and procedures than that provided by the statute.”