California Employment Law Update

Category Archives: Harassment

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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 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 Reverses $13 Million Gender Discrimination Verdict Entered Against UCLA

Pinter-Brown v. The Regents of the Univ. of Cal., 2020 WL 1950808 (Cal. Ct. App. 2020) The California Court of Appeal reversed a $13 million judgment that was entered against UCLA in favor of one of its former professors of medicine, Dr. Lauren Pinter-Brown, who sued for alleged gender discrimination and age discrimination and harassment … 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

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

California Enacts a Raft of New Employment Laws

On Thursday, October 10, 2019, California Gov. Gavin Newsom signed into law several new measures that employers will need to comply with by January 1, 2020 and that will generally make it easier for employees to sue their employers.  Specifically: AB 9 extends the statute of limitations period for employees to file claims of discrimination, harassment and/or retaliation … 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

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

New California Statute Shields Victims/Employers from Defamation Claims

California Governor Jerry Brown has signed Assembly Bill 2770 (Assembly Member Irwin; D-Thousand Oaks), an act to amend Section 47 of the Civil Code.  The bill should protect both sexual harassment victims and employers against defamation claims from alleged harassers. The bill was sponsored by the California Chamber of Commerce and passed the Legislature with unanimous, bipartisan … Continue Reading

Court Reverses Defense Verdict In Sexual Harassment Case

Meeks v. AutoZone, Inc., 2018 WL 3062555 (Cal. Ct. App. 2018) Natasha Meeks worked as a store manager for AutoZone and claimed that she had been sexually harassed by Juan Fajardo, another store manager. Among other things, Meeks testified that Fajardo would comment on her body and clothes; ask her to go out with him; … 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

Mandatory Training To Prevent Gender Identity Harassment

This law expands the scope of mandatory sexual harassment training employers must provide to their supervisory employees. Currently, FEHA requires employers with 50 or more employees to provide at least two hours of prescribed training and education regarding sexual harassment to all supervisory employees within six months of their assumption of a supervisory position and … 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’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

New Mandatory California Training on Gender Identity Harassment

On Oct. 15, 2017, California Gov. Jerry Brown signed Senate Bill 396 into law, expanding the scope of mandatory sexual harassment training employers must provide to their supervisory employees.  Currently, California’s Fair Employment and Housing Act (“FEHA”) requires employers with 50 or more employees to provide at least two hours of prescribed training and education … 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

Claims For Retaliation And Intentional Infliction Of Emotional Distress Should Not Have Been Dismissed

Light v. California Dep’t of Parks & Recreation, 14 Cal. App. 5th 75 (2017) Melony Light worked as an assistant, office technician and eventually a staff services analyst at the Ocotillo Wells District of the California Department of Parks and Recreation. Light alleged that she had been retaliated against for having been a witness in … Continue Reading

New Notice Requirement For Domestic Violence Victims’ Rights To Go Into Effect (July 1, 2017)

As we previously blogged, Assembly Bill 2337 (approved by the Governor last fall) will go into effect on July 1, 2017, and California employers will be required to give written notice of workplace rights that must be provided to victims of domestic violence, sexual assault, and stalking. The Labor Commissioner has just posted a form … Continue Reading

DFEH Releases Guidelines On Preventing and Correcting Harassment

Last month the Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH) announced the release of a new guide for California employers on the steps they should take to prevent and correct workplace harassment. The nine page document provides employers with a helpful FAQ-style guide to maintaining an effective anti-harassment program, appropriately responding to employee complaints, and … 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

Racial Harassment Claim Based On Comments Made During “Creative Process” Was Properly Dismissed

Daniel v. Wayans, 2017 WL 526494 (Cal. Ct. App. 2017) Pierre Daniel worked as an extra on a movie entitled “A Haunted House 2,” which Marlon Wayans wrote, produced and starred in. Daniel sued Wayans and others, alleging that during his one day of work on the movie he was compared to a “Black cartoon … Continue Reading
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