Reynaga v. Roseburg Forest Prods., 847 F.3d 678 (9th Cir. 2017)

Efrain Reynaga and his son Richard Reynaga, who worked as millwrights for Roseburg Forest Products, were the only millwrights of Mexican descent at the company. Efrain alleged that during the course of his employment he was subjected to disparate treatment and a hostile work environment based on his race or national origin. Efrain alleged that a contentious relationship had developed with lead millwright Timothy Branaugh who allegedly had harassed Efrain with racially disparaging comments. Following an investigation into Efrain’s allegations, Roseburg rearranged Branaugh’s work schedule so that he would not be on the same shift as Efrain. When Branaugh was subsequently scheduled to work the same shift as the Reynagas (despite the rearrangement of Branaugh’s schedule), they refused to work and their employment was terminated. The district court granted summary judgment in favor of Roseburg, but the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit reversed, holding that Branaugh’s demeaning comments that directly referenced race were not “offhand comments” or “mere offensive utterances” and were sufficiently severe or pervasive to create a hostile work environment. The Court also held there was sufficient evidence of disparate treatment and retaliation to preclude entry of summary judgment for Roseburg. See also Hamilton v. Orange County Sheriff’s Dep’t, 2017 WL 591412 (Cal. Ct. App. 2017) (trial court abused its discretion by failing to accommodate counsel’s joint request for a 60-day continuance prior to granting summary judgment); Van v. Language Line Servs., Inc., 8 Cal. App. 5th 73 (2017) (trial court abused its discretion by sanctioning plaintiff and finding her in contempt for failing to attend her deposition where there was no court order in place compelling her attendance).

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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; www.jurispub.com), 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.