California Employment Law Update

Category Archives: Disability

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California Jury Awards Employees $7.6 Million in Latest Gargantuan Wrongful Termination Verdict

A Los Angeles jury has ordered an apartment building owner and property management company to pay $7.6 million to two former live-in apartment managers who claimed to have been wrongfully terminated and discriminated against based upon a medical condition and disability (thyroid cancer). Albert Garcia and his wife Stephanie Garcia sued Gresham Apartments Investors, owners … Continue Reading

Federal Court in California Greenlights Drug Testing of Job Applicants

A U.S. District Court recently dismissed the lawsuit of a former employee who claimed disability discrimination after he was terminated for testing positive for marijuana in a pre-employment drug test.  Espindola v. Wismettac Asian Foods, Inc., Case 2:20-cv-03702 (C.D. Cal. Apr. 28, 2021).  The Court held that an employer can condition an offer of employment … Continue Reading

July 2021 California Employment Law Notes

We invite you to review our newly-posted July 2021 California Employment Law Notes, a comprehensive review of the latest and most significant developments in California employment law. The highlights include: Board of Directors Quota Law May Be Unconstitutional 2:1 Ratio of Punitive to Compensatory Damages Was Appropriate High School Football Coach’s Title VII Claim Was … Continue Reading

2:1 Ratio of Punitive to Compensatory Damages Was Appropriate

Contreras-Velazquez v. Family Health Ctrs. of San Diego, Inc., 62 Cal. App. 5th 88 (2021) Rosario Contreras-Velazquez sued her former employer, Family Health Centers (“FHC”), for disability discrimination after she suffered a work-related injury and was terminated.  A jury found FHC not liable, but the trial court ordered a new trial as to three claims; after … Continue Reading

March 2021 California Employment Law Notes

We invite you to review our newly-posted March 2021 California Employment Law Notes, a comprehensive review of the latest and most significant developments in California employment law. The highlights include: Trial Court Properly Dismissed Employee’s CFRA And Disability Discrimination Claims LAUSD Teacher Can Proceed With Claim For Disability Allegedly Caused By School’s Wi-Fi System Supreme … Continue Reading

LAUSD Teacher Can Proceed With Claim For Disability Allegedly Caused By School’s Wi-Fi System

Brown v. Los Angeles Unified School Dist., 2021 WL 631030 (Cal. Ct. App. 2021) Laurie Brown, a teacher at Millikan Middle School, alleged she experienced chronic pain, which was allegedly caused by a new Wi-Fi system the school had installed.  Brown’s medical provider diagnosed her with “electromagnetic hypersensitivity sensitivity” (EHS).  Brown eventually quit, claiming she could … Continue Reading

Trial Court Properly Dismissed Employee’s CFRA And Disability Discrimination Claims

Choochagi v. Barracuda Networks, Inc., 60 Cal. App. 5th 444 (2021) George Choochagi worked as a technical support manager for Barracuda Networks where he reported to Hossein Ghazizadeh.  Choochagi complained to HR that Ghazizadeh had made inappropriate sexual comments to him about having sex with women at the office and about Choochagi’s not being “man enough” … Continue Reading

Nike “Just Does It” – Retail Employees Will Wear Transparent Masks

Last summer, Nike began requiring its retail employees to wear masks to combat the spread of COVID-19. A few weeks later, Cali Bunn entered one of its San Diego-area stores to purchase some shoes. Ms. Bunn is deaf and, like other deaf and hearing-impaired customers, relies on her ability to read other’s lips to communicate. … Continue Reading

January 2021 California Employment Law Notes

We invite you to review our newly-posted January 2021 California Employment Law Notes, a comprehensive review of the latest and most significant developments in California employment law. The highlights include: Bank Employee Who Was Harassed By A Customer Can Proceed With Sexual Harassment Claim Laid-Off Employee Was Not Discriminated Against On The Basis Of Age … Continue Reading

Court Reverses $2.9 Million Jury Verdict For Failure To Accommodate Employee’s Disability

Shirvanyan v. Los Angeles Community Coll. Dist., 2020 WL 7706321 (Cal. Ct. App. 2020) Anahit Shirvanyan, a former kitchen assistant employed by the District, alleged the District failed to reasonably accommodate and/or engage in the interactive process with her based upon two injuries she had suffered (a wrist injury from carpal tunnel syndrome and a … Continue Reading

May 2020 California Employment Law Notes

We invite you to review our newly-posted May 2020 California Employment Law Notes, a comprehensive review of the latest and most significant developments in California employment law. The highlights include: Court Reverses $13 Million Gender Discrimination Verdict Entered Against UCLA Court Affirms $2.9 Million Verdict Against Employer That Failed To Obtain Green Card For Employee … Continue Reading

Court Orders Higher Prevailing-Plaintiff Attorneys’ Fees In Disability Discrimination Case

Caldera v. California Dep’t of Corrs. & Rehab., 2020 WL 2109751 (Cal. Ct. App. 2020) Augustine Caldera is a correctional officer at a state prison who stutters when he speaks. Caldera alleged that the prison’s employees, including a supervisor, “mocked and mimicked” his stutter at least a dozen times over a period of two years. … Continue Reading

After-Acquired Evidence Was Properly Used To Defeat ADA Claim

Anthony v. TRAX Int’l Corp., 955 F.3d 1123 (9th Cir. 2020) After Sunny Anthony filed suit, alleging she was terminated because of her disability, the employer (TRAX) learned that contrary to her representation on her employment application, she lacked the bachelor’s degree that was required of all technical writers under the employer’s government contract. The … Continue Reading

January 2020 California Employment Law Notes

We invite you to review our newly-posted January 2020 California Employment Law Notes, a comprehensive review of the latest and most significant developments in California employment law. The highlights include: Church Affiliate Is Exempt From FEHA Liability, But Liable for $1.9 Million On Other Theories Disability Discrimination, Harassment and Retaliation Claims Were Properly Dismissed Employer That … Continue Reading

Employer That “Mistakenly” Terminated Employee On Disability Leave May Be Liable For Discrimination

Glynn v. Superior Court, 42 Cal. App. 5th 47 (2019) John Glynn worked as a pharmaceutical sales representative before he commenced a medical leave of absence for a serious eye condition (myopic macular degeneration). Glynn’s doctor provided a medical certification designating his work status as “no work” because Glynn “can’t safely drive.” Although the employer’s … Continue Reading

Disability Discrimination, Harassment and Retaliation Claims Were Properly Dismissed

Doe v. Department of Corr. & Rehab., 2019 WL 6907515 (Cal. Ct. App. 2019) John Doe, who worked as a psychologist at Ironwood State Prison, alleged discrimination, harassment and retaliation based upon a disability; Doe also alleged that the employer violated FEHA in that it failed to accommodate his two alleged disabilities (asthma and dyslexia) … Continue Reading

IT Analyst Was Properly Denied Unemployment Benefits

Goldstein v. CUIAB, 2019 WL 1923530 (Cal. Ct. App. 2019) Steven M. Goldstein applied for and received unemployment insurance benefits from March 23, 2013 through August 10, 2013 after which time he ceased receiving unemployment benefits because he began receiving disability benefits, which continued until September 2014. Goldstein’s second claim for unemployment insurance benefits had … Continue Reading

Former Employee’s Claims Against The Salvation Army Were Properly Dismissed

Garcia v. Salvation Army, 918 F.3d 997 (9th Cir. 2019) Ann Garcia worked as social services coordinator for the Salvation Army but “left the Church” and stopped attending religious services there a few years before taking a lengthy medical leave of absence due to fibromyalgia and eventually being fired for failing to report to work … Continue Reading

Ninth Circuit Affirms ADA Judgment In Favor Of Employer

Snapp v. BNSF Ry., 889 F.3d 1088 (9th Cir. 2018) Danny Snapp sued his former employer, the Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railway Co. (“BNSF”), for failure to accommodate his alleged disability in violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act (“ADA”). Snapp worked as a division trainmaster, but due to “tiredness and low energy,” he went … Continue Reading

Community College District Failed To Reasonably Accommodate Disabled Employee

Hernandez v. Rancho Santiago Cmty. Coll. Dist., 2018 WL 2057468 (Cal. Ct. App. 2018) Marisa Hernandez worked on and off as an assistant for the District for a number of years without any complaints about her performance. Eight months into her 12-month probationary period (after which point she would become a “permanent employee”), Hernandez took … Continue Reading

Former LA Times Columnist’s Age/Disability Discrimination Judgment Upheld, New Trial On Damages Ordered

Simers v. Los Angeles Times Commc’ns, LLC, 18 Cal. App. 5th 1248 (2018) T.J. Simers, a well-known sports columnist for the Los Angeles Times, alleged disability and age discrimination and constructive discharge – Simers, who had suffered a “mini-stroke” from which he quickly recovered, quit his job after his column was suspended and he was … Continue Reading

Unsuccessful Disability Discrimination Plaintiff Is Not Entitled To Attorney’s Fees

Bustos v. Global P.E.T., Inc., 19 Cal. App. 5th 558 (2017) William Bustos sued his former employer for disability discrimination. A jury determined that Bustos’ actual or perceived physical condition was a substantial motivating reason for his termination, but nevertheless returned defense verdicts on all of his claims. After the trial, Bustos sought an award … Continue Reading

Disability Discrimination Lawsuit Was Properly Dismissed

Alamillo v. BNSF Ry. Co., 2017 WL 3648514 (9th Cir. 2017) Antonio Alamillo, who worked as a locomotive engineer for BNSF, missed several calls and was suspended on at least two occasions before being terminated. Around the same time, Alamillo began to suspect he was experiencing a medical problem and was soon diagnosed with obstructive … Continue Reading

It’s Time to Think About Arbitration Agreements Again Following Recent $15 Million+ Employee Verdicts

Jury panels in the Los Angeles Superior Court (which is often referred to as “The Bank” by the plaintiffs’ bar) have recently delivered multimillion-dollar verdicts to former-employee plaintiffs.  Many employers doing business in California already have insulated themselves from such disasters by adopting comprehensive arbitration regimes, which would require that such cases be heard by a retired … Continue Reading
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