Beltran v. Hard Rock Hotel Licensing, Inc., 97 Cal. App. 5th 865 (2023)

Stephanie Beltran, a server at the Hard Rock Hotel in Palm Springs, alleged she had been sexually harassed by Juan Rivera, the former General Manager of the hotel. Beltran reported to Human Resources that Rivera had “grabbed or slapped her ass.” Beltran also testified in her deposition about “multiple incidents of conduct over a period of months, including leering gestures, hand massages, and inappropriate questions, which culminated with the slapping or groping incident.” Although the trial court granted summary adjudication in favor of the employer, the Court of Appeal reversed, holding that this evidence was more than sufficient to raise a triable issue of fact as to whether “a reasonable person who was subjected to the harassing conduct would find that the conduct so altered working conditions as to make it more difficult to do the job.” In so holding, the Court relied principally upon Cal. Gov’t Code § 12923 and the case law that post-dates the January 1, 2019 effective date of the statute.

The Court also published that portion of its opinion concerning the “appropriate scope” of a separate statement of undisputed material facts filed in support of a motion for summary judgment, concluding that the separate statement filed in this case, which included over 600 paragraphs and ran over 100 pages, was neither “convenient nor expeditious” in that it included not only “material” facts but also “merely background information that has [no] relevance to any cause of action or defense.” The Court similarly criticized the plaintiff’s opposition separate statement, holding that “it is completely unhelpful to evade the stated fact in an attempt to create a dispute where none exists.”

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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.