California Employment Law Update

Category Archives: Discrimination

Subscribe to Discrimination RSS Feed

Governor Brown Signs Slew Of #MeToo-Inspired Laws

This weekend Governor Brown signed many laws that were authored and gained traction in response to the #MeToo movement: New Restrictions On Confidentiality Of Sexual Harassment/Discrimination Settlements Senate Bill 820 prohibits confidentiality or non-disclosure provisions in settlement agreements that prevent the disclosure of factual information involving allegations of sexual misconduct – unless the party alleging … Continue Reading

Could “CEO Action Pledge” Lead to Unintended Consequences?

The #MeToo movement has propelled employers across the U.S. to look not only at their policies for dealing with discrimination and harassment but also at their efforts to hire and promote employees from traditionally underrepresented groups. More than 450 CEOs and presidents across 85 industries have signed the CEO Action for Diversity & Inclusion, a … Continue Reading

Former High School Teacher’s Race/Sex Discrimination Claims Were Properly Dismissed

Campbell v. State of Hawaii Dep’t of Educ., 892 F.3d 1005 (9th Cir. 2018) Patricia Campbell was employed by the Hawaii Department of Education (“DOE”) for nine years until she resigned because she was allegedly harassed and degraded by students on the basis of her race (white) and her sex. She alleges that students called … Continue Reading

Release Executed In Workers’ Compensation Case Did Not Bar Subsequent Civil Action

Camacho v. Target Corp., 234 Cal. Rptr. 3d 223 (Cal. Ct. App. 2018) Adrian Camacho, a former Target cashier, sued for alleged sexual orientation discrimination, harassment causing a hostile work environment, retaliation, constructive termination in violation of public policy and related claims. Prior to resigning his employment with Target, Camacho settled a workers’ compensation (“WC”) … Continue Reading

Employer May Be Liable For “Thwarting” Pregnant Extern From Applying For Job

Abed v. Western Dental Servs., Inc., 23 Cal. App. 5th 859 (2018) Western Dental posted a job opening for a dental assistant in its Napa, California office while Ada Abed was working there as a student extern. Although Abed originally had been assured that the externship was a four- to six-week “working interview” and that … Continue Reading

Another Day, Another $31 Million Employee Verdict From a Los Angeles Jury

On Tuesday, a Los Angeles jury did what L.A. juries do so often these days — they awarded tens of millions of dollars to an ex-employee who claimed she had been the victim of discrimination, wrongful termination and retaliation.  Codie Rael, who worked as a materials buyer for a dental supply company, claimed that she … Continue Reading

California Enacts New Protections Against National Origin Discrimination

The California Office of Administrative Law recently approved new amendments to the California Fair Employment and Housing Act (“FEHA”), strengthening the protections afforded to applicants and employees, including individuals who are undocumented, on the basis of their national origin.  Although the FEHA already prohibits discrimination and harassment on the basis of national origin, these new … Continue Reading

Two Recent Jury Verdicts Award $6 Million and $7.97 Million To Wrongfully Terminated Employees

Two recent verdicts from California Superior Court juries have awarded former employees $6 million and $7.9 million, respectively, in compensatory damages after a finding of wrongful termination. Martinez v. Rite Aid Corp. On March 27, 2018, a Los Angeles County Superior Court jury found Rite Aid Corporation liable for just over $6 million after deciding … Continue Reading

Ninth Circuit Changes Federal Pay Equity Rules

By Anthony J. Oncidi and Nayirie Kuyumjian           On Monday, the Ninth Circuit issued a significant opinion, Rizo v. Yovino, 2018 WL 1702982 (9th Cir. April 9, 2018), authored by the late “liberal lion” Judge Stephen Reinhardt, holding that an employer’s consideration of prior salary information cannot serve as a justification … 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

Statute Of Limitations For State Law Claims Was Suspended While Case Was Pending In Federal Court

Artis v. District of Columbia, 583 U.S. ___, 138 S. Ct. 594 (2018) Stephanie Artis filed a Title VII employment discrimination case against her employer, the District of Columbia, which was eventually dismissed on summary judgment by the district court; the district court declined to exercise supplemental jurisdiction over the remaining state-law claims that were … Continue Reading

“Inclusion Riders” On The Storm

  Last night, Oscar-winner Frances McDormand ended her acceptance speech  with a reference to two words – “Inclusion Rider” – that sent many Oscar viewers scrambling to Google her cryptic message. But the term, and its legal implications, are somewhat more complicated than several news and entertainment outlets are reporting today. The term “inclusion rider” … Continue Reading

District Court Has Discretion To “Gross Up” Backpay Award To Compensate For Tax Liability

Clemens v. Qwest Corp., 874 F.3d 1113 (9th Cir. 2017) Arthur Clemens, Jr., sued his employer Qwest Corporation for race discrimination and retaliation in violation of Title VII. A jury awarded Clemens $157,000 for lost wages and benefits, more than $275,000 for emotional distress and $100,000 in punitive damages. The district court reduced the emotional … Continue Reading

Obese Former Employee May Proceed With Disability Discrimination Claim

Cornell v. Berkeley Tennis Club, 2017 WL 6524707 (Cal. Ct. App. 2017) Ketryn Cornell is a severely obese woman (BMI > 50) who was fired from her job as a manager and tennis court washer for the Berkeley Tennis Club. Following her termination, she sued the Club for disability discrimination, failure to accommodate her disability, … Continue Reading

Los Angeles Jury Awards $17.4 Million to Sanitation Bureau Employee

Continuing an alarming recent pattern of multi-million dollar jury awards (see our earlier post), a Los Angeles jury panel recently awarded $17.4 million to a former employee of the Bureau of Sanitation.  The employee claimed he had been retaliated against because he had taken part in “protected activities” and because he had filed a complaint … Continue Reading

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
LexBlog