California Employment Law Update

Category Archives: Discrimination

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September 2021 California Employment Law Notes

We invite you to review our newly-posted September 2021 California Employment Law Notes, a comprehensive review of the latest and most significant developments in California employment law. The highlights include: Ninth Circuit Rejects “Paramour Preference” Liability Arising From Supervisor’s Affair With Another Employee $3.5 Million Emotional Distress Award Was “Shockingly Disproportionate” To Evidence Of Harm … Continue Reading

Ninth Circuit Rejects “Paramour Preference” Liability Arising From Supervisor’s Affair With Another Employee

Maner v. Dignity Health, ___ F.4th ___, 2021 WL 3699780 (9th Cir. 2021) William “Bo” Maner worked as a biomedical design engineer in the obstetric and gynecological laboratory of Dr. Robert Garfield for several decades. Shortly after he joined the lab, Maner learned that Garfield and another researcher (Dr. Leili Shi) were engaged in a … Continue Reading

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

Economic Damages Award Should Have Been Reduced by Post-Termination Earnings

Martinez v. Rite Aid Corp., 63 Cal. App. 5th 958 (2021) Following two prior trials, which resulted in reversal of the judgments by the Court of Appeal, this wrongful termination/discrimination case was tried for a third time in 2018.  The jury awarded Maria Martinez $2 million on her wrongful termination claim against her former employer (Rite … 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

Board of Directors Quota Law May Be Unconstitutional

Meland v. Weber, 2021 WL 2521615 (9th Cir. 2021) In 2018, the California Legislature enacted Senate Bill 826, which requires all corporations headquartered in California to have a minimum number of females on their boards of directors; corporations that fail to comply with SB 826 are subject to monetary penalties.  One shareholder of OSI Systems, Inc., … Continue Reading

September 2020 California Employment Law Notes

We invite you to review our newly-posted September 2020 California Employment Law Notes, a comprehensive review of the latest and most significant developments in California employment law. The highlights include: Employee Entitled To $17.2 Million For Wrongful Termination/Defamation “Continuing Violation” Theory Saves Employee’s Sexual Harassment Claim Tortious Interference With At-Will Contract Requires Independently Wrongful Act … Continue Reading

Court Affirms Dismissal of Medical Assistant’s Discrimination Lawsuit

Arnold v. Dignity Health, 53 Cal. App. 5th 412 (2020) Virginia M. Arnold worked as a medical assistant at Dignity Health before her employment was terminated for, among other things, failure to safeguard a patient’s personal health information (a HIPAA violation); display of inappropriate materials in the workplace (a picture of a bare-chested male model); … Continue Reading

July 2020 California Employment Law Notes

We invite you to review our newly-posted July 2020 California Employment Law Notes, a comprehensive review of the latest and most significant developments in California employment law. The highlights include: Supreme Court Recognizes Discrimination Protection For Gay/Transgender Employees Under Title VII Dark Day For Hollywood – Law Prohibiting Online Publication Of Actors’ Ages Is Struck Down … Continue Reading

Religious Schools Were Permitted To Terminate Employment Of Teachers Despite Claims Of Discrimination

Our Lady of Guadalupe School v. Morrissey-Berru, 591 U.S. ___, 2020 WL 3808420 (2020) Agnes Morrissey-Berru and Kristen Biel worked as elementary school teachers at, respectively, Our Lady of Guadalupe School and St. James School.  Following the termination of her employment, Morrissey-Berru sued her school for age discrimination under the ADEA; following the termination of … 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

Racial Discrimination/Sexual Harassment Case Was Properly Dismissed On Summary Judgment

Ducksworth v. Tri-Modal Distrib. Servs., 47 Cal. App. 5th 532 (2020) Bonnie Ducksworth and Pamela Pollock are customer service representatives at Tri-Modal Distribution Services who alleged a failure to promote based upon racial discrimination by two staffing agencies used by Tri-Modal; Pollock also alleged sexual harassment. The trial court granted the staffing agencies’ motion for … Continue Reading

Court Should Not Have Dismissed Self-Represented Employee’s Claims

Nuño v. California State Univ., 47 Cal. App. 5th 799 (2020) Anthony Nuño, an assistant college professor, represented himself in this lawsuit against California State University, Bakersfield, in which he alleged harassment, retaliation and discrimination based upon his race and sexual orientation. The trial court sustained defendants’ demurrer and granted plaintiff additional time to file … 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

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

Proskauer Scores Two Summary Judgments for Large Southern California Hospital Within 48 Hours

We’re delighted to report that we secured two summary judgments in two separate alleged discrimination cases on behalf of a large Southern California hospital in matters that were pending in the Los Angeles Superior Court. In one case, decided on July 12, 2019, the Court agreed with our client that the former employee had failed … Continue Reading

California Enacts Law Prohibiting Hairstyle Discrimination … with New York and New Jersey Close Behind

As we have reported before, California is set to become the first state to prohibit employers from discriminating based upon hairstyle. Last week, Governor Gavin Newsom signed into law the “CROWN Act” (Create a Respectful and Open Workplace for Natural Hair). The CROWN Act amends the state’s Education Code and Government Code to define “race … Continue Reading
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