California Employment Law Update

Tag Archives: emotional distress

Court Affirms $500,000 Jury Award To Employee Who Stutters

Caldera v. California Department of Corr. & Rehab., 25 Cal. App. 5th 31 (2018) Augustine Caldera is a correctional officer at a state prison who stutters when he speaks.  Caldera alleged that the prison’s employees, including a supervisor, “mocked and mimicked” his stutter at least a dozen times over a period of two years.  Caldera … Continue Reading

$48,000 Judgment Affirmed In Favor Of Former Parks & Recreation Employee

Hurley v. California Dep’t of Parks & Recreation, 2018 WL 989506 (Cal. Ct. App. 2018) Delane Hurley worked as a staff services analyst who sued her employer, the Department of Parks & Recreation (“DPR”), and her former supervisor Leda Seals for harassment based on sex and sexual orientation in violation of the Fair Employment and … 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

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

Section 1981 Claim Is Subject to Four-Year Statute of Limitations

Johnson v. Lucent Techs. Inc., 653 F.3d 1000 (2011) In 2008, Russell H. Johnson, III, an African-American, sued Lucent and the administrator of his disability insurance benefits for retaliation in violation of Title VII, violation of 42 U.S.C. § 1981 and intentional infliction of emotional distress in retaliation for his filing suit against Lucent in … Continue Reading

“Me Too” Evidence Was Relevant to and Admissible in Discrimination Lawsuit

Pantoja v. Anton, 198 Cal. App. 4th 87 (2011) Lorraine Pantoja sued attorney Thomas J. Anton and his firm for wrongful termination, violation of the Fair Employment and Housing Act (“FEHA”), battery, sexual battery and intentional infliction of emotional distress. By the time of the trial, only the FEHA claims remained. In their motions in … Continue Reading

Employer Did Not Violate CFRA by Transferring Employee upon Her Return from 19-Week Stress Leave

Rogers v. County of Los Angeles, 198 Cal. App. 4th 480 (2011) After 19 weeks of medical leave, Katrina L. Rogers returned to her job as the personnel officer in the executive office responsible for rendering administrative and other support services to the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors. During her LOA, Rogers’ doctor told … Continue Reading

July 2011 California Employment Law Notes

We invite you to review our newly posted July 2011 California Employment Law Notes — a comprehensive review of the latest and most significant developments in California employment law.  The highlights include: Class Of 1.5 Million Female Wal-Mart Employees Was Improperly Certified Arizona Law Requiring Use Of E-Verify Is Upheld U.S. Court Has Jurisdiction Over Argentinean Employees’ … Continue Reading

Employee Was Not Sexually Harassed By His Male Supervisor, But Could Proceed With Retaliation Claim

Kelley v. The Conco Cos., 196 Cal. App. 4th 191 (2011) Patrick Kelley, an apprentice ironworker, complained to his employer, Conco, that he had been subjected to a “barrage of sexually demeaning comments and gestures by his male supervisor” (David Seamen). After Kelley’s union suspended him from its apprenticeship program, he was not rehired by … Continue Reading

Pregnancy Harassment Claim Was Properly Dismissed, And Employee Waived Attorney-Client Privilege By Using Employer’s Computer

Holmes v. Petrovich Dev. Co., 191 Cal. App. 4th 1047 (2011) Gina Holmes sued her employer for harassment based on pregnancy, retaliation, constructive discharge, violation of the right to privacy and intentional infliction of emotional distress. The trial court granted summary adjudication to the defendants with respect to the claims for harassment, retaliation and constructive … Continue Reading

Employee’s Lawyer Should Not Be Present During Client’s Psych Exam

Toyota v. Superior Court, 189 Cal. App. 4th 1391 (2010) Steven Braun sued Toyota Motor Sales and his supervisor Randall Bauer for gender discrimination, sexual harassment, defamation, constructive discharge and intentional and negligent infliction of emotional distress. Toyota and Bauer filed a motion to compel Braun to submit to an independent psychiatric examination, which the … Continue Reading

Security Service Is Not Liable For Assault Allegedly Committed By Unsupervised Employee

Plancarte v. Guardsmark, LLC, 118 Cal. App. 4th 640 (2004) Eveilia Plancarte alleged that Toufik Kadah, a Guardsmark security guard, was responsible for assault, battery, false imprisonment and intentional infliction of emotional distress, all of which allegedly occurred while she was working as a janitor in a building in which Kadah was working as a … Continue Reading

Employee’s Invasion Of Privacy Claim Was Not Barred By Workers’ Compensation Act

Operating Engineers Local 3 v. Johnson, 110 Cal. App. 4th 180 (2003) Bonita Vinson and her union, Operating Engineers Local 3, filed this lawsuit against Sylvia Johnson, the Chief Probation Officer of the County of Alameda and the county, alleging violation of Vinson’s right to privacy. Vinson alleged that Johnson had made an announcement at … 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

Union’s Anti-SLAPP Motion Was Properly Denied

Rivero v. AFSCME, AFL-CIO, 105 Cal. App. 4th 913 (2003) David Rivero was a supervisor of janitors at the International House at UC Berkeley before his employment was terminated when he refused to accept a demotion to dishwasher and pot scrubber in the International House’s kitchen. Rivero sued his union, the AFSCME, for libel, slander … Continue Reading

Garment Workers Failed To Establish Union’s Intentional Infliction of Emotional Distress

Simo v. UNITE-SW, 322 F.3d 602 (9th Cir. 2003) Twenty-five garment workers brought suit against their union and its officials after the union allegedly engaged in secondary pressure to remove work from their factory. Among other things, the workers alleged that the union had intentionally inflicted emotional distress upon them. The Ninth Circuit affirmed summary … Continue Reading
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