Light v. California Dep’t of Parks & Recreation, 14 Cal. App. 5th 75 (2017)
Melony Light worked as an assistant, office technician and eventually a staff services analyst at the Ocotillo Wells District of the California Department of Parks and Recreation. Light alleged that she had been retaliated against for having been a witness in an investigation of another employee’s complaint of discrimination. She also alleged intentional infliction of emotional distress. The trial court granted summary judgment in favor of the Department, but the Court of Appeal reversed in part, holding that Light had raised a triable issue of material fact that she had suffered an adverse employment action by the Department following her participating in the other employee’s discrimination complaint. Among other things, Light was isolated, moved to a different office, “verbally and to some extent physically attacked,” denied previously promised training for a new position, rejected for promotion and she suffered a reduction in her scheduled hours to zero. Further, there was “direct evidence the Department intended to and did retaliate against Light for participating in [the other employee’s] complaint.” The appellate court also reversed the dismissal of the claim for intentional infliction of emotional distress, holding that workers’ compensation did not provide the exclusive remedy for alleged emotional distress arising from discrimination and retaliation. Finally, the court affirmed dismissal of the intentional infliction of emotional distress claim against one of the supervisors whose actions did not constitute “extreme or outrageous” conduct. See also United States ex rel. Campie v. Gilead Sciences, Inc., 862 F.3d 890 (9th Cir. 2017) (employee adequately pled a claim for retaliation in violation of the False Claims Act).