California Employment Law Update

Tag Archives: hostile environment

Routine Hugging Over 12-Year Period May Have Caused Hostile Work Environment

Zetwick v. County of Yolo, 2017 WL 710476 (9th Cir. 2017) Victoria Zetwick, a county correctional officer, alleged that the county sheriff created a sexually hostile environment in violation of Title VII and the California Fair Employment and Housing Act by, among other things, greeting her and other female employees with unwelcome hugs on more … 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

Gay Employee Could Proceed With Retaliation But Not Harassment Claim Under Title VII

Dawson v. Entek Int’l, 630 F.3d 928 (9th Cir. 2011) Shane Dawson, a former temporary production line worker for Entek, ran a production line that rolled up battery separators. Dawson, who is gay, worked with 24 other male employees. Dawson’s employment was terminated two days after he had complained to human resources that he was … Continue Reading

White Police Officer Was Not Terminated In Retaliation For Reporting Alleged Harassment Of Black Employee

Thompson v. City of Monrovia, 186 Cal. App. 4th 860 (2010) Officer Matthew Donald Thompson sued the Monrovia Police Department for harassment and a hostile work environment arising from offensive remarks and behavior that were allegedly directed at an African-American colleague. Thompson also alleged he suffered retaliation for having reported the racism. The trial court … Continue Reading

College Professor’s Racially Charged E-Mails Did Not Create Hostile Environment

Rodriguez v. Maricopa County Cmty. Coll., 605 F.3d 703 (9th Cir. 2010) Professor Walter Kehowski sent three racially-charged emails over a distribution list maintained by the college district where he teaches math. Every district employee with an email address received Kehowski’s messages, including plaintiffs in this case – a certified class of the district’s Hispanic … Continue Reading

“Friends” Typist Was Not Subjected To Hostile Environment Sexual Harassment

Lyle v. Warner Bros. Television Productions, 38 Cal. 4th 264 (2006) Amaani Lyle was terminated after four months of working as a typist in the writers’ room of the producers of the television show “Friends.” Following her termination because she could not type (contended the producers), Lyle asserted, among other things, that she had been … Continue Reading

Employees Could Sue For Hostile Environment Caused By Supervisor’s Sexual Favoritism Of Their Co-Workers

Miller v. Department of Corrections, 36 Cal. 4th 446 (2005) Edna Miller and Frances Mackey, two former employees of the Valley State Prison for Women, alleged the warden accorded unwarranted favorable treatment to three female employees with whom he was having sexual affairs and that such conduct constituted sexual harassment (in the form of a … Continue Reading

Supervisor’s Insistence On Anglicizing Employee’s First Name Supported Hostile Environment Claim

El-Hakem v. BJY, Inc., 415 F.3d 1068 (9th Cir. 2005) Mamdouh El-Hakem sued his employer, BJY, Inc., and its CEO for employment discrimination and wrongful termination arising from the CEO’s repeated references to him as “Manny” (over the employee’s objection). The CEO contended that a “Western” name would increase El-Hakem’s chances for success and would … Continue Reading

“Friends” Producers Could Not Use “Creative Necessity” As Absolute Defense To Sexual Harassment Complaint

Lyle v. Warner Bros. Television Prods., 38 Cal. App. 4th 264 (2004) The producers of the television show "Friends" hired Amaani Lyle as a writers’ assistant in June of 1999 and terminated her employment four months later based, they said, on her poor job performance and deficient typing skills. Among other things, Lyle alleged that … Continue Reading

Cal State Employee May Proceed With Constructive Wrongful Termination Claim

Colores v. Bd. of Trustees of the Cal. State Univ., 105 Cal. App. 4th 1293 (2003) Lillian Colores, a former director of procurement, contracts and support services for California State University, Los Angeles, alleged that she was constructively terminated in violation of public policy. Nine years after she began working at the university (and 12 … Continue Reading

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