California Employment Law Update

Category Archives: Sexual Harassment

Subscribe to Sexual Harassment RSS Feed

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

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

New Notice Regarding Domestic Violence, Sexual Assault And Stalking Protections

Existing law prohibits an employer from discharging or in any manner discriminating or retaliating against an employee who is a victim of domestic violence, sexual assault, or stalking for taking time off from work for specified purposes related to addressing the domestic violence, sexual assault, or stalking. This bill requires employers to inform each employee … Continue Reading

Outside Counsel’s Investigation Of Sexual Harassment Was Privileged

City of Petaluma v. Superior Court, 2016 WL 3342543 (Cal. Ct. App. 2016) Andrea Waters, who worked as a firefighter and paramedic for the City of Petaluma, alleged she was harassed and discriminated against based upon her sex. Waters also claimed she suffered retaliation after she complained about the treatment. Waters took a leave of … Continue Reading

Employer Is Entitled To Recover $4 Million In Attorney’s Fees From EEOC

CRST Van Expedited, Inc. v. EEOC, 578 U.S. ___, 136 S. Ct. 1642 (2016) The EEOC filed suit against CRST (a trucking company) alleging that over 250 female employees and prospective employees had been subjected to sexual harassment. However, the district court dismissed all of the claims on various grounds, including that the EEOC had … Continue Reading

EEOC Sufficiently Conciliated Class Claims Before Bringing Suit, And Employee Stated Hostile Environment Claim

Arizona ex rel. Horne v. The Geo Group, 2016 WL 945634 (9th Cir. 2016) Alice Hancock was employed by Geo as a correctional officer at the Arizona State Prison. Geo contracts with the Arizona Department of Corrections to maintain and operate two facilities in the state. Hancock filed a charge of discrimination and harassment based … Continue Reading

New California Regulations Regarding Discrimination, Harassment and Pregnancy Disability Leave

New California anti-discrimination, anti-harassment, and pregnancy disability leave regulations go into effect on April 1, 2016.  The substantive law regarding these issues has not changed.  However, the new amendments enumerate detailed requirements regarding anti-harassment policies and investigations, and institute additional notice and recordkeeping requirements. Anti-Discrimination and Harassment Regulations The new anti-discrimination and harassment regulations clarify … Continue Reading

$300,000 In Punitive Damages Upheld In Sexual Harassment Case Despite Nominal Damages Award

State of Arizona v. ASARCO LLC, 2014 WL 6918577 (9th Cir. 2014) (en banc) Angela Aguilar who worked in a copper mine for approximately 11 months claimed she was sexually harassed, retaliated against, subjected to intentional infliction of emotional distress and was constructively terminated from her employment. After an eight-day trial, the jury found ASARCO … Continue Reading

Liability For Employer’s Harassment, False Imprisonment Of Employees Was Not Covered By Insurance

Jon Davler, Inc. v. Arch Ins. Co., 229 Cal. App. 4th 1025 (2014) After one of the owners of Jon Davler, Inc. (Christina Yang) found a used sanitary napkin in the women’s bathroom and blood around the toilet seat, she started yelling at the employees that they were “dirty” and demanded to know which of … Continue Reading

Thou Shalt Not Bully – Employers Must Educate Supervisors about “Abusive Conduct”

California businesses that have 50 or more employees are already required to train supervisors on legally prohibited sexual harassment. Following California Governor Jerry Brown’s recent signing of A.B. 2053, that training must now also include education on preventing “abusive conduct” in the workplace, even if the conduct is not based on a protected characteristic nor … Continue Reading

Franchisor Is Not Liable For Franchisee’s Alleged Sexual Harassment Of Its Employee

Patterson v. Domino’s Pizza, LLC, 2014 WL 4236175 (Cal. S. Ct. 2014) Taylor Patterson was hired by Sui Juris (a franchisee of Domino’s Pizza) to serve customers at its store.  Patterson alleged that she was sexually harassed by Renee Miranda, an adult male who held the title of assistant manager of the Sui Juris store.  … Continue Reading

$60,000 Sexual Harassment Verdict Is Affirmed

Kim v. Konad USA Distribution, Inc., 226 Cal. App. 4th 1336 (2014) Following a bench trial, Esther Kim was awarded $60,000 against her former employer (Konad) and her former boss (Dong Whang) for sexual harassment and wrongful termination. Curiously, defendants did not challenge the pleadings or file any pretrial motion to dispose of any part … Continue Reading

Male Employee’s Sexual Harassment Claims Should Not Have Been Dismissed

Lewis v. City of Benicia, 224 Cal. App. 4th 1519 (2014) Brian Lewis, a heterosexual man, sued his former employer (the City of Benecia) and two former male supervisors for sexual harassment and the City for retaliation. The trial court granted summary judgment in favor of the supervisors (Steve Hickman and Rick Lantrip) and judgment … Continue Reading

March 2014 California Employment Law Notes

$150,000 Sexual Harassment Verdict And $680,000 Fee Award Affirmed Taylor v. Nabors Drilling USA, LP, 222 Cal. App. 4th 1228 (2014) Max Taylor worked as a floorhand on an oil rig where he alleged he was harassed by his supervisors who called him “queer,” “fagot [sic],” “homo,” and “gay porn star” and was subjected to … Continue Reading

California Amends Sexual Harassment Law

Governor Brown signed Senate Bill 292 this week, amending the Fair Employment and Housing Act to allow an employee claiming sexual harassment to prevail without having to show that the allegedly harassing conduct was motivated by the harasser’s “sexual desire.” S.B. 292 was authored by Senate majority leader Ellen M. Corbett and principally sponsored by … Continue Reading

Sexual Assault Victim’s Motion To Strike Supervisor’s Defamation Claim Was Properly Granted

Aber v. Comstock, 212 Cal. App. 4th 931 (2013) Lisa Aber sued her employer and two co-employees (Michael Comstock, Aber’s supervisor, and James Cioppa) for sexual harassment and sexual battery, among other things. Comstock filed a cross-complaint against Aber in which he alleged defamation and intentional infliction of emotional distress. In response to Comstock’s cross-complaint, … Continue Reading

Sexual Harassment Complaints Are Subject To Anti-SLAPP Motions To Strike

Aber v. Comstock, 2012 WL 6863235 (Cal. Ct. App. Dec. 18, 2012) Plaintiff Lisa Aber sued her employer and two of its employees, alleging that the employees had sexually assaulted her.  Michael Comstock, one of the employee defendants, filed a cross-complaint against Aber, alleging claims for defamation and intentional infliction of emotional distress.  Comstock alleged … Continue Reading

Jury Awards Record $168 Million to Employee in Workplace Harassment Suit

A federal court jury on Wednesday awarded a record $168 million to a physician’s assistant who complained of multiple instances of sexual harassment by her supervisors in the cardiovascular surgery department at Sacramento’s Mercy General Hospital. The verdict is believed to be the largest ever awarded to a single plaintiff in an employment case. The … Continue Reading

LAPD Officer’s $2.1 Million Jury Award For Retaliation Is Reversed

Joaquin v. City of Los Angeles, 202 Cal. App. 4th 1207 (2012) Richard Joaquin alleged his employment as an LAPD officer was terminated in retaliation for his having filed a sexual harassment complaint against his supervisor, Sgt. James Sands. The case was tried to a jury and Joaquin was awarded more than $2.1 million in … Continue Reading

California Court of Appeal holds that employer may lawfully terminate employee for filing an allegedly false sexual harassment complaint against his supervisor

Joaquin v. City of Los Angeles (California Ct. App. 01/23/2012) A Los Angeles Police Department officer filed a sexual harassment claim with the department against his supervisor, and after investigating the officer’s claim, the department determined the claim was unfounded. In response, the supervisor filed an internal complaint against the officer alleging that the officer … Continue Reading

$160,000 Sexual Harassment Verdict And Attorney’s Fee Award Of $677,000 Affirmed

Fuentes v. AutoZone, Inc., 200 Cal. App. 4th 1221 (2011) Marcela Fuentes worked as a part-time customer service representative (cashier) for AutoZone. Fuentes alleged that two managers (Melvin Garcia and Gonzalo Carrillo) had spread rumors that Fuentes had sexually transmitted herpes; that she and a coworker were engaged in a sexual relationship; and that she … Continue Reading

Employee Failed To Prove Existence Of Severe Or Pervasive Sexual Harassment

Brennan v. Townsend & O’Leary Enter., Inc., 199 Cal. App. 4th 1336 (2011) Stephanie Crowley Brennan sued her former employer and a manager who was not her supervisor (Scott Montgomery) for sexual harassment. A jury awarded Brennan $200,000 against the agency and $50,000 against Montgomery, but the trial court granted defendants’ motion for judgment notwithstanding … Continue Reading
LexBlog