California Employment Law Update

Category Archives: Discrimination

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Workers’ Compensation Decision Barred Employees’ FEHA Claims

Ly v. County of Fresno, 2017 WL 4546059 (Cal. Ct. App. 2017) Three Laotian correctional officers were allegedly subjected to racial and national origin discrimination, harassment and retaliation by their employer, the County of Fresno. The employees filed suit in court under the FEHA while simultaneously pursuing their workers’ compensation remedies before the Workers’ Compensation … Continue Reading

Employer Was Not Liable For Marital Status Discrimination Or Failure To Investigate

Nakai v. Friendship House Ass’n of Am. Indians, Inc., 15 Cal. App. 5th 32 (2017) Orlando Nakai was employed for over 20 years by Friendship House, a drug and alcohol rehabilitation program providing treatment services to Native Americans. His employment was terminated by the program’s CEO (who also happened to be his mother-in-law) after his … Continue Reading

Employer’s Victory In Workers’ Compensation Proceeding Leads To Dismissal Of Discrimination Claims

A recent California Court of Appeal opinion reminds employers of the need to carefully monitor parallel workers’ compensation proceedings involving litigants who also have civil claims pending against the employer. Ly v. County of Fresno, 2017 WL 4546059 (Cal. Ct. App. Sept. 15, 2017). Three Laotian correctional officers filed Fair Employment and Housing Act (“FEHA”) … Continue Reading

California Enacts Statewide Law Restricting Inquiries into Applicants’ Salary History

California Governor Jerry Brown has signed into law a statewide salary history inquiry law that will largely restrict employers in the state from seeking and relying upon salary history information from applicants during the hiring process. The law, which will go into effect on January 1, 2018 and will apply to all private and public … Continue Reading

Former Elementary School Teacher’s Discrimination Claims Were Properly Stricken Under Anti-SLAPP Statute

Okorie v. Los Angeles Unified Sch. Dist., 2017 WL 3499226 (Cal. Ct. App. 2017) Dioka Okorie sued his employer, the Los Angeles Unified School District and others, alleging discrimination, harassment and retaliation. In response, the District filed an anti-SLAPP motion seeking dismissal of Okorie’s lawsuit on the ground that Okorie’s complaint was based on protected activity … 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

Age Discrimination Lawsuit Was Properly Dismissed

Merrick v. Hilton Worldwide, Inc., 2017 WL 3496030 (9th Cir. 2017) Sixty-year-old Charles Merrick was terminated from his job as Director of Property Operations at the Hilton La Jolla Torrey Pines Hotel as part of a reduction in force. Merrick sued for age discrimination under the Fair Employment and Housing Act, among other things. The … Continue Reading

Statute Of Limitations For Filing DFEH Complaint Runs From The Last Day Of Employment

Aviles-Rodriguez v. Los Angeles Cmty. Coll. Dist., 2017 WL 3712199 (Cal. Ct. App. 2017) Guillermo Aviles-Rodriguez was employed as a professor for the Los Angeles Community College District (“LACCD”). Although Aviles-Rodriguez was notified on March 5, 2014 that his tenure had been denied by the Board of Trustees of the LACCD, his employment did not end … 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

Trial Court Abused Its Discretion In Refusing To Compel Employer To Produce Data Sought By EEOC

EEOC v. McLane Co., 857 F.3d 813 (9th Cir. 2017) Damiana Ochoa filed a charge with the EEOC alleging sex discrimination (based on pregnancy) in violation of Title VII, when, after she tried to return to her job following maternity leave, her employer (McLane Co.) informed her that she could not come back to the … Continue Reading

New Transgender Identity and Expression Regulations (July 1, 2017)

In May 2017, the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH) approved new regulations regarding transgender identity and expression in the workplace. The regulations become effective July 1, 2017. The new rules further expand the Fair Employment and Housing Act’s (FEHA) role in preventing discrimination in employment and housing on the basis of gender … Continue Reading

Handful of State “Job Killer” Bills Move On to Second House

According to reporting from the California Chamber of Commerce, several recently introduced bills have passed the California State Senate or Assembly and now move on to a vote in the second house. These bills include: Assembly Bill 1209 – requires California employers with more than 250 employees to collect data on the mean and median … Continue Reading

Employer That Paid Females Less Than Males Based On Prior Salaries May Avoid Liability Under Equal Pay Act

Rizo v. Yovino, 2017 WL 1505068 (9th Cir. 2017) Aileen Rizo, who is an employee of the public schools in Fresno County, sued for violation of the federal Equal Pay Act (“EPA”) after she learned that her male counterparts were being paid more for performing the same work. In its summary judgment motion, the county … Continue Reading

Trial Court’s Decision Quashing EEOC Subpoena Should Not Be Reversed Absent Abuse Of Discretion

McLane Co. v. EEOC, 581 U.S. ___, 137 S. Ct. 1159 (2017) Damiana Ochoa filed a charge with the EEOC alleging sex discrimination (based on pregnancy) in violation of Title VII, when, after s­­he tried to return to her job following maternity leave, her employer (McLane Co.) informed her that she could not come back … Continue Reading

Garbage Truck Employee Who Failed To Provide Proof Of Right To Work Could Proceed With Age Discrimination Claim

Santillan v. USA Waste of Cal., 853 F.3d 1035 (9th Cir. 2017) Gilberto Santillan, a 53-year-old garbage truck driver in Manhattan Beach, was employed for 32 years before his employment was terminated by a new route manager (Steve Kobzoff) after Santillan had four accidents in a 12-month period. Santillan disputed that he had four accidents … Continue Reading

Employee Who Suffered From “Altered Mental State” Need Not Be Allowed To Rescind Her Resignation

Featherstone v. Southern Cal. Permanente Med. Grp., 2017 WL 1399709 (Cal. Ct. App. 2017) Ruth Featherstone alleged that her former employer (SCPMG) discriminated against her based on a “temporary disability” that was caused by an adverse drug reaction, which resulted in an “altered mental state.” During this alleged altered mental state, Featherstone resigned orally from … Continue Reading

A handy guide for choosing and using employment practices liability insurance coverage

Thompson Reuters has just published our “handy guide” for choosing and using employment practices liability insurance (“EPLI”).  The article is attached.  There are a number of important things to keep in mind when considering your options and using these insurance policies if and when an employment claim is made or threatened.  Please let one of our employment … Continue Reading

Millwrights Could Proceed With Hostile Work Environment Claim

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 … Continue Reading

Employer May Have Discriminated Against Female Supervisor Based On Gender

Mayes v. WinCo Holdings, Inc., 846 F.3d 1274 (9th Cir. 2017) Katie Mayes worked at WinCo for 12 years in Idaho Falls, Idaho. During her last years at WinCo, she supervised employees on the night-shift freight crew. Mayes was fired for taking a stale cake from the store bakery to the break room to share … Continue Reading

Actors’ Ages to Remain Available Online (At Least for Now)

A federal court has granted IMDb’s request for a preliminary injunction to allow the entertainment website to keep actors’ ages in their online profiles – despite the enactment of a statute in California prohibiting same. The lawsuit, IMDb.com, Inc. v. Becerra (Case No. 16-cv-06535-VC) was filed in response to the passage of A.B. 1687, which required … Continue Reading

Union Member’s Hostile Work Environment Claim Was Not Preempted By Federal Law

Matson v. UPS, 840 F.3d 1126 (9th Cir. 2016) Mary Matson, a member of the Teamsters Union, worked as a “combination worker” unloading and sorting packages at UPS’s Boeing Field International hub in Seattle. During her employment, Matson allegedly complained that because of her gender she was subject to unfair and demeaning treatment in the workplace.  … Continue Reading

Employee’s Wrongful Termination Claim Was Properly Dismissed, But Other Claims Survive

Goonewardene v. ADP, LLC, 5 Cal. App. 5th 154 (2016) In her fifth amended complaint, Sharmalene Goonewardene alleged claims against her former employer (ADP) for wrongful termination, violation of the Labor Code, breach of contract, negligent misrepresentation and negligence. The trial court sustained ADP’s demurrer to the complaint without further leave to amend, and the … Continue Reading

Employee’s FEHA Retaliation Claim Was Properly Dismissed

Dinslage v. City & County of San Francisco, 5 Cal. App. 5th 368 (2016) David P. Dinslage is a former employee of the Recreation and Parks Department of the City and County of San Francisco. As a result of a large-scale restructuring of the Department, Dinslage’s employment classification was eliminated and he was laid off.  … Continue Reading

Employee Could Proceed With Disability Discrimination And Wrongful Termination Claims

Soria v. Univision Radio Los Angeles, Inc., 5 Cal. App. 5th 570 (2016) Sofia Soria worked as an on-air radio personality for Univision for approximately 14 years before her employment was terminated for alleged tardiness and lack of preparation for her show. In response to Soria’s lawsuit for alleged disability discrimination, Univision argued it had … Continue Reading
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