California Employment Law Update

Category Archives: Wrongful Termination

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Principal Of Former Employer Liable Based On Alter Ego Theory

Hacker v. Fabe, 92 Cal. App. 5th 1267 (2023) In 2005, attorney Jacqueline Fabe filed claim for unpaid wages against her employer with the Labor Commissioner.  Her employer then filed a malpractice suit against Fabe, and Fabe in response filed a retaliation suit with the Labor Commissioner.  Fabe and the Labor Commissioner later won on … Continue Reading

Court Affirms $7.1 Million Whistleblower Verdict

Zirpel v. Alki David Prods., Inc., 93 Cal. App. 5th 563 (2023) Karl Zirpel worked as the vice president of operations for Alki David Productions (“ADP”) before the principal of ADP, Alki David, fired him for allegedly disclosing information that Zirpel reasonably believed evidenced a violation of safety standards and for disclosing information about ADP’s … Continue Reading

Arbitrator Correctly Enforced Release Agreement Executed By Employee

Castelo v. Xceed Fin. Credit Union, 91 Cal. App. 5th 777 (2023) Elizabeth Castelo sued her former employer Xceed Financial Credit Union for wrongful termination and age discrimination in violation of FEHA.  After the parties stipulated to binding arbitration, the arbitrator granted summary judgment to Xceed based on a release that Castelo signed after she … Continue Reading

School District Employer Did Not Violate The Law By Requiring COVID Vaccination/Weekly Testing

Rossi v. Sequoia Union Elementary Sch., 2023 WL 5498732 (Cal. Ct. App. 2023) Pursuant to the State Public Health Officer Order of August 11, 2021, K-12 schools were required to verify the COVID-19 vaccination status of all school workers and to require proof of vaccination or weekly diagnostic screen testing.  Plaintiff Gloria Elizabeth Rossi, an … Continue Reading

July 2023 California Employment Law Notes

We invite you to review our newly-posted July 2023 California Employment Law Notes, a comprehensive review of the latest and most significant developments in California employment law. The highlights include: Enforcement of PAGA Carve Out Suggests Need For New Revisions To Arbitration Agreements PAGA Debt Not Dischargeable in Bankruptcy Distributors Not Liable For Unpaid Wages Of … Continue Reading

Employee Who Refused To Get Flu Vaccine Was Properly Terminated

Hodges v. Cedars-Sinai Med. Ctr., 91 Cal. App. 5th 894 (2023) Deanna Hodges, who worked for Cedars-Sinai as an administrative employee with no patient responsibilities, refused to get vaccinated for the flu, contrary to Cedars’ policy which required all of its employees to get vaccinated in an effort to limit employee transmission of the flu.  The … Continue Reading

March 2023 California Employment Law Notes

We invite you to review our newly-posted March 2023 California Employment Law Notes, a comprehensive review of the latest and most significant developments in California employment law. The highlights include: No Claim By Employee Who Was Friends With Alleged Harasser Pregnancy Discrimination Lawsuit Was Properly Dismissed Employer That Failed To Layoff Employee Before She Became … Continue Reading

Employer That Failed To Layoff Employee Before She Became Disabled May Have Discriminated

Lin v. Kaiser Found. Hosps., 2023 WL 2202544 (Cal. Ct. App. 2023) Suchin Lin received favorable performance evaluations as an IT Engineer at Kaiser before the decision was made to eliminate her position. Before Lin was informed of the elimination of her position, she fell in the workplace and suffered an injury to her shoulder, … Continue Reading

Pregnancy Discrimination Lawsuit Was Properly Dismissed

Lopez v. La Casa de Las Madres, 2023 WL 2534998 (Cal. Ct. App. 2023) Gabriela Lopez worked as shelter manager for a non-profit organization that provides services to women and children who are victims of domestic violence. In September 2016, Lopez gave birth to a child; by December 17, 2016, Lopez had received the full … Continue Reading

January 2023 California Employment Law Notes

We invite you to review our newly-posted January 2023 California Employment Law Notes, a comprehensive review of the latest and most significant developments in California employment law. The highlights include: Age/National Origin Case Was Properly Dismissed Despite “Direct Evidence” Of Discriminatory Animus Family Court May Order Employer To Provide Determination Of Arrearages Owed In Spousal … Continue Reading

Age/National Origin Case Was Properly Dismissed Despite “Direct Evidence” Of Discriminatory Animus

Opara v. Yellin, 57 F.4th 709 (9th Cir. 2023) Joan Opara was terminated from her employment as an IRS revenue officer after the IRS determined she had committed several “UNAX offenses” (i.e., incidents of unauthorized access of taxpayer data). Following her termination, Opara sued the Treasury Secretary, alleging she was terminated in violation of the … Continue Reading

November 2022 California Employment Law Notes

We invite you to review our newly-posted November 2022 California Employment Law Notes, a comprehensive review of the latest and most significant developments in California employment law. The highlights include: Equal Pay Act Claim Should Not Have Been Dismissed Whistleblower Claim Should Not Have Been Dismissed In Part School District Employee May Have Been Discriminated … Continue Reading

Whistleblower Claim Should Not Have Been Dismissed In Part

Killgore v. SpecPro Prof’l Servs., LLC, 51 F.4th 973 (9th Cir. 2022) While consulting for an environmental project for the United States Army Reserve Command, Aaron Killgore believed he was being required to prepare an environmental assessment in a manner that violated federal law. Killgore was fired shortly after he reported the suspected illegality to … Continue Reading

Equal Pay Act Claim Should Not Have Been Dismissed

Allen v. Staples, Inc., 84 Cal. App. 5th 188 (2022) Joyce Allen worked at Staples as a field sales director (FSD) reporting to area sales vice president Bruce Trahey; FSD Charles R. Narlock also reported to Trahey.  As part of a corporate reorganization in February 2019, Trahey informed Allen and several other FSDs of his … Continue Reading

Work Beyond Pay Grade Can Be Grounds for Constructive Termination, Court Rules

The federal court for the Northern District of California recently declined to dismiss a former Al Jazeera International employee’s constructive wrongful termination claim against the news outlet, finding that requiring an employee to perform tasks more advanced than their pay level, without promotion, could constitute “intolerable” working conditions. The plaintiff alleges she was working as … Continue Reading

The Ninth Circuit Adopts Broad View of Whistleblower Retaliation Claim under the California Whistleblower Protection Act

In the continuously evolving whistleblower retaliation standard we previously reported on earlier this year here and here, the Ninth Circuit has now weighed in on California Labor Code section 1102.5 in Killgore v. Specpro Pro. Serv., LLC, No. 21-15897. In holding that a consultant on an environmental project for the U.S. Army Reserve Command raised … Continue Reading

October 2022 California Employment Law Notes

We invite you to review our newly-posted October 2022 California Employment Law Notes, a comprehensive review of the latest and most significant developments in California employment law. The highlights include: Hollywood Producer Is Not Liable For Drowning Death Of Executive Assistant Employer May Not Inquire Into Former Employee’s Immigration Status Workers’ Comp Determination Does Not Govern … Continue Reading

Employer May Not Inquire Into Former Employee’s Immigration Status

Manuel v. Superior Court, 82 Cal. App. 5th 719 (2022) Rigoberto Jose Manuel sued his former employer, BrightView Landscape Services, Inc., for wrongful termination after he was injured on the job.  Manuel alleged his employment was terminated in retaliation for his job injury; BrightView asserted that Manuel failed to return to work due to federal … Continue Reading

Despite Employee-Friendly Test, California Court of Appeal Finds in Favor of Employer in Whistleblower Retaliation Claim

As we reported here, earlier this year, the California Supreme Court confirmed a relaxed standard by which employees can prove whistleblower retaliation under Labor Code section 1102.5 in Lawson v. PPG Architectural Finishes, Inc., 12 Cal. 5th 703 (2022).  Despite the newly affirmed and extremely high burden for employers to prevail against Section 1102.5 claims … 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

November 2021 California Employment Law Notes

We invite you to review our newly-posted November 2021 California Employment Law Notes, a comprehensive review of the latest and most significant developments in California employment law. The highlights include: Ninth Circuit Resurrects California’s Anti-Arbitration Statute In-House Counsel’s Claim For Breach Of Oral Promise Of Contingency Fee Was Barred By Statute Employee Can Proceed With … Continue Reading

Employer That Claimed Employment Records Were Stolen Cannot Challenge Calculation Of Lost Wages

Morales v. Factor Surfaces LLC, 2021 WL 4818687 (Cal. Ct. App. 2021) Byron Jerry Morales sued his former employer, Factor Surfaces LLC, and its managing agent for unpaid overtime wages, meal and rest break compensation, statutory penalties, and wrongful termination, among other things.  After a bench trial, the court awarded Morales $99,394.16, including $42,792 in … Continue Reading
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