Lawler v. Montblanc N. Am., LLC, 704 F.3d 1235 (9th Cir. 2013)

Cynthia Lawler alleged disability discrimination, harassment, retaliation and intentional infliction of emotional distress (“IIED”) associated with the termination of her employment. The district court granted summary judgment in favor of Montblanc, and the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed, holding that Montblanc had shown that Lawler could not perform the essential functions of a store manager because due to her disability (psoriatic arthritis) she was unable to work. The Court similarly held there was no triable issue of whether Montblanc had either retaliated against or harassed Lawler and affirmed dismissal of those claims. Finally, the Court affirmed dismissal of the IIED claim after concluding that while Lawler’s manager “may have inconsiderately and insensitively communicated his dissatisfaction with Lawler’s managerial performance, this is not conduct from which California tort law protects employees.” The Court also declined to draw an adverse inference against the employer based on its failure to preserve after 30 days a security tape that Lawler contended captured an exchange between her and the company’s president/CEO. See also Furtado v. State Personnel Bd., 212 Cal. App. 4th 729 (2013) (correctional lieutenant was properly demoted to a non-peace officer position because he could not perform the essential functions of the peace officer job).