California Employment Law Update

Tag Archives: damages

Employer Improperly Adopted Alternative Workweek Schedule But Wage Statement Penalties Are Reversed

Maldonado v. Epsilon Plastics, Inc., 22 Cal. App. 5th 1308 (2018) Olvin Maldonado filed this class action against his employer based upon an improperly adopted Alternative Workweek Schedule (“AWS”). The Court of Appeal affirmed the judgment of the trial court, finding that Epsilon failed to prove that there had been a preadoption vote of the … 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

California Moves to Reinstate Large Emotional Distress Damage Awards in “Mixed Motive” Cases

As regular readers of this blog know, it has been a busy summer for employment-related legislation in the California Legislature (see here and here). Yet of all the bills currently wending their way through the legislative process, none would affect California employment law more than Senate Bill 655. If enacted, SB 655 would modify the … Continue Reading

Employee-Attorney’s $440,000 Verdict Against LA Housing Authority Is Affirmed

Cordero-Sacks v. Housing Authority of Los Angeles, 200 Cal. App. 4th 1267 (2011) Ada Cordero-Sacks was terminated from her position as an attorney in the Los Angeles Housing Authority’s Office of Internal Control following her investigation of alleged internal misconduct and fraud within the Authority. Cordero-Sacks’s claim for retaliatory discharge under the California False Claims … Continue Reading

Social Worker Was An Employee Within The Meaning Of The FEHA And Was Sexually Harassed

Bradley v. California Dep’t of Corrections & Rehabilitation, 158 Cal. App. 4th 1612 (2008) Sallie Mae Bradley worked temporarily at a California prison as a licensed clinical social worker. Bradley sued the California Department of Corrections (“CDC”) for sexual harassment directed at her by the prison’s Muslim chaplain, Omar Shakir. The jury awarded her $300,000 … Continue Reading

Evidence Supported Whistleblower Retaliation Claim But Not Sexual Harassment

Mokler v. County of Orange, 157 Cal. App. 4th 121 (2007) Pamela Mokler was employed as the executive director of the County’s Office on Aging (“OoA”). Following her termination, she sued the County for breach of contract, wrongful termination, hostile work environment and unlawful retaliation under Labor Code § 1102.5 (the “whistleblower statute”). The jury … Continue Reading

$1.1 Million In Attorney’s Fees Awarded Following Recovery Of $30,300 Discrimination Judgment

Harman v. City and County of San Francisco, 158 Cal. App. 4th 407 (2007) This case, which was originally filed in federal court in 1999, involved allegations of race and sex discrimination by Allen Harman and two other white males who were employed as airfield safety officers at the San Francisco International Airport. After the … Continue Reading

Sales Representative’s $480,000 Wrongful Termination Award Is Affirmed

Casella v. SouthWest Dealer Services, 157 Cal. App. 4th 1127 (2007) Zachary Casella was employed as a sales representative for SouthWest Dealer Services, which sells its aftermarket auto products to auto dealerships and helps train auto dealership finance and insurance salespeople on how to promote and sell SouthWest’s products. Casella moved from New York to … Continue Reading

Defendant That Removes Action To Federal Court Bears Burden Of Proof Regarding Damages

Guglielmino v. McKee Foods Corp., 506 F.3d 696 (9th Cir. 2007) Plaintiffs sued McKee Foods in this putative class action in state court, alleging violation of the California Labor Code, fraud, breach of contract and related claims. McKee timely removed the action to federal court and asserted that even though plaintiffs affirmatively alleged that the damages … Continue Reading

Federally Chartered Credit Union Not Immune From Punitive Damages

McGee v. Tucoemas Fed. Credit Union, 153 Cal. App. 4th 1351 (2007) Kimberly McGee, a former vice president of lending for the credit union, took a leave of absence for surgery and chemotherapy after being diagnosed with breast cancer. The credit union allegedly told McGee that if she did not return to work within four … Continue Reading

Court Upholds $775,000 Jury Award Against Employees Who Libeled Former Employer And Company Executives

Varian Med. Sys., Inc. v. Delfino, 113 Cal. App. 4th 273, 6 Cal.Rptr.3d 325 (2003) Varian and two of its executives, George Zdasiuk and Susan B. Felch, sued two former employees, Michelangelo Delfino and Mary Day, after Delfino and Day used Internet bulletin boards to post more than 13,000 derogatory messages about Varian and the two executives. … Continue Reading

Employee’s $400,000 Jury Verdict Against Urine- Testing Lab Is Upheld

Ishikawa v. Delta Airlines, Inc., 343 F.3d 1129 (9th Cir. 2003) Yasuko Ishikawa, a Delta Airlines flight attendant, was terminated for failing a drug-detection urine test. Because the test had been performed negligently and had no validity, Delta rehired Ishikawa and paid her her lost income. Ishikawa also sued LabOne, the urine-testing laboratory, for negligence, … Continue Reading

Employee Was Required To Pay Taxes On Part Of $8.73 Million Wrongful Termination Settlement

Banaitis v. CIR, 340 F.3d 1074 (9th Cir. 2003) In his tort claims against his former employer (Bank of California) and its successor (Mitsubishi Bank), Sigitas Banaitis alleged wrongful discharge and interference with his employment agreement. After losing at trial in Oregon state court (where Banaitis obtained a $6.27 million verdict in his favor) and … Continue Reading

Punitive Damages Award Of 145 Times Compensatory Damages Was Excessive

State Farm Mut. Auto. Ins. Co. v. Campbell, 538 U.S. 408, 123 S. Ct. 1513 (2003) Curtis and Inez Campbell sued their automobile insurance carrier (State Farm) for bad faith, fraud, and intentional infliction of emotional distress after State Farm declined to settle within the $50,000 policy limit a wrongful death and personal injury lawsuit … Continue Reading

Wrongfully Terminated Employee Was Entitled To $1.15 Million Punitive Damages Award

Freund v. Nycomed Amersham, 326 F.3d 1070 (9th Cir. 2003) Jeffrey R. Freund worked as a pharmacist in Nycomed’s nuclear pharmacy in San Diego. After a few years of employment, Freund’s relationship with his supervisor, Mike Wakefield, “soured.” Freund lodged complaints about staffing, expressing his concern that overwork of staff members increased the probability that … Continue Reading

Union Comments Made About Employer During Labor Dispute Were Not Defamatory

Steam Press Holdings, Inc. v. Hawaii Teamsters & Allied Workers Union, 302 F.3d 998 (9th Cir. 2002) During the course of a labor dispute, union president Mel Kahele told a number of employees of the company (Steam Press Holdings, Inc.) that the owner of the company, Michael Drace, was “making money” and “hiding it in … Continue Reading

Terminating Sanctions And $1.6 Million Award Upheld Against Employer Following Discovery Abuses

Walker v. San Francisco Housing Authority, 100 Cal. App. 4th 685 (2002) Thelma Walker was employed as a “journeyman painter” for the San Francisco Housing Authority (SFHA). In her lawsuit against the SFHA and her foreman, Walker alleged that she had been subjected to severe and pervasive sexual harassment, defamation, invasion of privacy, and interference … Continue Reading

Employee Who Failed To Mitigate His Damages Is Not Entitled To Judgment In His Favor

West v. Bechtel Corp., 96 Cal. App. 4th 966 (2002) Plaintiff, a former engineer who worked for Bechtel Corp. for more than 30 years, sued the company for age discrimination and breach of contract. At trial, plaintiff received a jury verdict of $101,852.27 for lost salary and emotional distress damages. The Court of Appeal reversed … Continue Reading
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