California Employment Law Update

Category Archives: Wrongful Termination

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May 2019 California Employment Law Notes

We invite you to review our newly-posted May 2019 California Employment Law Notes, a comprehensive review of the latest and most significant developments in California employment law. The highlights include: Strict Independent Contractor Test Applies Retroactively; California Employee Is Compelled To Litigate His Employment Claims In Indiana; Employee Could Rely Upon Former Supervisor’s Statement About Existence Of Discrimination; … Continue Reading

Employee Could Rely Upon Former Supervisor’s Statement About Existence Of Discrimination

Weil v. Citizens Telecom Servs. Co., 2019 WL 1891796 (9th Cir. 2019) David Weil sued Citizens Telecom Services for wrongful termination and discriminatory failure to promote under Title VII and related statutes. In support of his failure-to-promote claim, Weil testified in his deposition that his former supervisor (identified in the opinion as “L.H.”) told him … Continue Reading

California Employee Is Compelled To Litigate His Employment Claims In Indiana

Ryze Claim Solutions LLC v. Superior Court, 2019 WL 1467947 (Cal. Ct. App. 2019) Jerome Nedd was employed by Ryze Claim Solutions in El Cerrito, California for almost three years before his employment was terminated, resulting in his filing claims against Ryze for wrongful termination and violation of the Fair Employment and Housing Act (“FEHA”) … Continue Reading

LA Times Wins Lawsuit Against Former Freelancer

The California Court of Appeal affirmed dismissal of a former freelancer’s defamation and employment-related claims against the Times. Frederick Theodore Rall III, a political cartoonist and blogger for the paper, brought claims for defamation, wrongful termination, intentional infliction of emotion distress, and retaliation, among others, stemming from the Times’ decision to disassociate itself with Rall … Continue Reading

Another Gargantuan California Verdict… This Time for $18.6 Million

A San Diego jury awarded that amount to a former employee who claimed he was wrongfully terminated based on his arrest record and then defamed. Michael Tilkey worked for Allstate Insurance for 30 years and was fired from his job as a field sales leader after he admitted to Allstate that he was arrested for domestic violence … Continue Reading

Former Librarian’s Discrimination Claims Were Barred On Various Legal Grounds

Wassmann v. South Orange County Cmty. Coll. Dist., 2018 WL 3063946 (Cal. Ct. App. 2018) Carol Wassmann challenged her dismissal from employment as a tenured librarian at Irvine Valley College in a five-day administrative proceeding brought pursuant to the Education Code. The administrative law judge determined there was cause to terminate Wassmann’s employment, and the … 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

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

Dodd-Frank Anti-Retaliation Protection Does Not Apply Absent Prior Notice To The SEC

Digital Realty Trust, Inc. v. Somers, 583 U.S. ___, 2018 WL 987345 (2018) Paul Somers alleged that his former employer Digital Realty terminated his employment after he reported to senior management suspected securities-law violations by the company. Somers neither alerted the Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”) of his concerns prior to his termination nor did … 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

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 Can Recover $90,000 In Costs From Employee Who Rejected Multiple Settlement Offers

Sviridov v. City of San Diego, 2017 WL 3493855 (Cal. Ct. App. 2017) Aleksei Sviridov, a former police officer for the City of San Diego, was terminated from his job in 2007, reinstated in 2008 and then failed to return to work thereafter, which resulted in a second termination. Following years of litigation and three … Continue Reading

Garbage Truck Employee Who Failed To Provide Proof Of Right To Work Could Proceed With Age Discrimination Claim

Santillan v. USA Waste of Cal., 853 F.3d 1035 (9th Cir. 2017) Gilberto Santillan, a 53-year-old garbage truck driver in Manhattan Beach, was employed for 32 years before his employment was terminated by a new route manager (Steve Kobzoff) after Santillan had four accidents in a 12-month period. Santillan disputed that he had four accidents … Continue Reading

Employee Who Suffered From “Altered Mental State” Need Not Be Allowed To Rescind Her Resignation

Featherstone v. Southern Cal. Permanente Med. Grp., 2017 WL 1399709 (Cal. Ct. App. 2017) Ruth Featherstone alleged that her former employer (SCPMG) discriminated against her based on a “temporary disability” that was caused by an adverse drug reaction, which resulted in an “altered mental state.” During this alleged altered mental state, Featherstone resigned orally from … 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

Millwrights Could Proceed With Hostile Work Environment Claim

Reynaga v. Roseburg Forest Prods., 847 F.3d 678 (9th Cir. 2017) Efrain Reynaga and his son Richard Reynaga, who worked as millwrights for Roseburg Forest Products, were the only millwrights of Mexican descent at the company. Efrain alleged that during the course of his employment he was subjected to disparate treatment and a hostile work … Continue Reading

Employer May Have Discriminated Against Female Supervisor Based On Gender

Mayes v. WinCo Holdings, Inc., 846 F.3d 1274 (9th Cir. 2017) Katie Mayes worked at WinCo for 12 years in Idaho Falls, Idaho. During her last years at WinCo, she supervised employees on the night-shift freight crew. Mayes was fired for taking a stale cake from the store bakery to the break room to share … Continue Reading

Employee’s Wrongful Termination Claim Was Properly Dismissed, But Other Claims Survive

Goonewardene v. ADP, LLC, 5 Cal. App. 5th 154 (2016) In her fifth amended complaint, Sharmalene Goonewardene alleged claims against her former employer (ADP) for wrongful termination, violation of the Labor Code, breach of contract, negligent misrepresentation and negligence. The trial court sustained ADP’s demurrer to the complaint without further leave to amend, and the … Continue Reading

Discrimination Claims Against Media Company Are Not Barred By Anti-SLAPP Statute

Wilson v. Cable News Network, Inc., 2016 WL 7217201 (Cal. Ct. App. 2016) Stanley Wilson alleged discrimination, retaliation, wrongful termination and defamation against CNN, et al., where he worked as a television producer before his employment was terminated following an audit of his work involving suspected plagiarism.  Defendants answered the complaint and then filed a … 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

Supervisor’s Wrongful Termination Claim Was Not Preempted By The NLRA

Dang v. Maruichi Am. Corp., 207 Cal. Rptr. 3d 658 (Cal. Ct. App. 2016) Khanh Dang sued his former employer for wrongful termination in violation of public policy, claiming that Maruichi had discharged him for engaging in concerted activity relating to unionizing efforts. The trial court granted Maruichi’s motion for summary judgment on the ground … Continue Reading

Indian Tribe Did Not Waive Its Sovereign Immunity By Removing Lawsuit To Federal Court

Bodi v. Shingle Springs Band of Miwok Indians, 2016 WL 4183518 (9th Cir. 2016) The Shingle Springs Band of Miwok Indians is a federally-recognized Indian tribe located on the Shingle Springs Rancheria in California. Beth A. Bodi, a member of the tribe, worked at the tribe’s full-service health clinic. Bodi’s employment was terminated after she … Continue Reading

Terminated Employee Could Proceed With Tortious Interference Claims Against Apple

Popescu v. Apple Inc., 2016 WL 3578970 (Cal. Ct. App. 2016) Dan Popescu sued Apple Inc. for damages after he was fired by his employer, Constellium Rolled Products Ravenswood, LLC. Popescu alleged that Apple took affirmative steps to convince Constellium to fire him in retaliation for his resistance to Apple’s alleged anticompetitive conduct. The trial … Continue Reading

Laid-Off Employee Could Proceed With Disability Discrimination Claims

Moore v. The Regents of the Univ. of Cal., 2016 WL 3434186 (Cal. Ct. App. 2016) Deborah Moore was employed as the Director of Marketing for the University of California San Diego (UCSD) until her job was eliminated shortly after she got a new supervisor who believed that the job functions that Moore was performing … Continue Reading
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