Hurley v. California Dep’t of Parks & Recreation, 2018 WL 989506 (Cal. Ct. App. 2018)

Delane Hurley worked as a staff services analyst who sued her employer, the Department of Parks & Recreation (“DPR”), and her former supervisor Leda Seals for harassment based on sex and sexual orientation in violation of the Fair Employment and Housing Act (“FEHA”), invasion of privacy, violation of the Information Practices Act (“IPA”) and discrimination in violation of FEHA against DPR. After a four-week trial, the jury returned verdicts in favor of all defendants on the FEHA causes of action and against defendants for violation of IPA and against Seals for intentional and negligent infliction of emotional distress. The jury awarded Hurley $19,200 for past economic damages; $19,200 for past noneconomic (emotional distress) damages; and $28,800 in punitive damages against Seals only. The Court of Appeal affirmed the judgment on the IPA verdicts on the ground that Seals had personally maintained and disclosed information from Hurley’s personnel file in violation of the statute. Although Hurley had suffered emotional distress as a result of the violation of the IPA, she failed to prove any past economic damages from the breach within the applicable limitations period. Finally, the Court held that the workers’ compensation exclusivity doctrine did not bar the claims for intentional and negligent infliction of emotional distress.