California Employment Law Update

Category Archives: Discrimination

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Several State “Job Killer” Bills Move One Step Closer to Passage

As covered previously here, the California Chamber of Commerce (“Chamber”) once again has identified a handful of “job killer” bills making their way through the legislative process.  This year’s crop of proposed legislation would, among other things, inflate employer data reporting requirements and further expand the scope of the Fair Employment and Housing Act (“FEHA”).  … Continue Reading

Judge Reduces $137 Million Race Harassment Verdict Against Tesla to $15 Million

A federal court judge pared down last year’s jaw-dropping $137 million damages award against Tesla in a racial bias lawsuit.  As covered previously here, a San Francisco federal court jury awarded $6.9 million in emotional distress damages and $130 million in punitive damages to a Black former elevator operator who worked at Tesla’s Fremont facility … Continue Reading

Spring Showers Bring Job Killer Bills to California

Pablo Neruda once said “you can cut all the flowers but you cannot keep spring from coming.”  Likewise, California businesses’ protests against oppressive employment legislation don’t seem to stem the tide of the Legislature’s latest batch of anti-employer bills. The California Chamber of Commerce has just identified a host of recently introduced “Job Killer” Bills … Continue Reading

March 2022 California Employment Law Notes

We invite you to review our newly-posted March 2022 California Employment Law Notes, a comprehensive review of the latest and most significant developments in California employment law. The highlights include: California Relaxes Standard For Proving Whistleblower Claims At-Will Employee Can Proceed With Labor Code § 970 Claim Doctor Proved Age/Race/Gender Discrimination Former Owner of Company Is … Continue Reading

Doctor Proved Age/Race/Gender Discrimination

Department of Corr. & Rehab. v. State Pers. Bd., 2022 WL 354657 (Cal. Ct. App. 2022) Vickie Mabry-Height, M.D., sued the Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation, alleging discrimination on the basis of age, race and gender in violation of the California Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA). The State Personnel Board sustained Dr. Mabry-Height’s complaint … Continue Reading

January 2022 California Employment Law Notes

We invite you to review our newly-posted January 2022 California Employment Law Notes, a comprehensive review of the latest and most significant developments in California employment law. The highlights include: Manicurist Can Proceed With Hostile Work Environment Claim “Volunteers for Nonprofits Are Not Employees” – Court Affirms Order In Favor Of The American Film Institute … Continue Reading

Security Officer Can Proceed With Disability Discrimination And Wrongful Termination Claims, But Not Retaliation Claim

Zamora v. Security Indus. Specialists, Inc., 71 Cal. App. 5th 1 (2021) David Zamora sued his former employer, Security Industry Specialists, Inc. (“SIS”), for disability discrimination, wrongful termination and retaliation. Eight days after he was hired, Zamora tripped over a curb at work and twisted his left knee. Zamora was later laid off as part … Continue Reading

Nurse’s Discrimination Claims Against Hospital Were Properly Dismissed

Wilkin v. Community Hosp. of the Monterey Peninsula, 71 Cal. App. 5th 806 (2021) Kimberly Wilkin worked as a registered nurse for the Community Hospital of the Monterey Peninsula before the hospital terminated her employment following its discovery she had violated the hospital’s policies governing the handling and documentation of patient medications. After her termination, … Continue Reading

Los Angeles Jury Hands $155 Million Holiday Gift to Fired Insurance Executive

As we recently reported, California juries continue to award massive verdicts to employees with alarming regularity.  And, just in time for the holidays, a Los Angeles Superior Court jury upped the ante on Thursday, handing a fired insurance company executive a verdict totaling $155.4 million – including $150 million in punitive damages. Plaintiff Andrew Rudnicki worked … Continue Reading

New Lawsuit Reminds Employers to Check Their Grooming Policies

A suit filed last week in San Diego Superior Court serves as a reminder to employers about the importance of keeping up-to-date on California’s evolving Fair Employment and Housing Act (“FEHA”). In the new suit, an employee, Jeffrey Thornton, claims that he was discriminated against on the basis of his race when his former employer, … Continue Reading

Governor Newsom Signs A Slew of New Employment Laws for 2022

As the 2021 legislative season came to a close, Governor Gavin Newsom signed numerous bills into law. From arbitration to workplace safety, these laws will impact employers across the state.  We have summarized the most important ones for you here: Arbitration Arbitration fees will now need to be paid upon receipt of invoice unless the … Continue Reading

San Francisco Jury Hits Tesla with $137 Million Race Harassment Verdict

On Monday afternoon, a San Francisco federal court jury awarded $137 million to a Black former elevator operator who worked at Tesla’s Fremont facility for approximately one year before quitting his employment in 2016. After just four hours of deliberation, the jury awarded Owen Diaz $6.9 million in emotional distress damages and $130 million in punitive … Continue Reading

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
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