California Employment Law Update

Tag Archives: retaliation

Former High School Teacher’s Race/Sex Discrimination Claims Were Properly Dismissed

Campbell v. State of Hawaii Dep’t of Educ., 892 F.3d 1005 (9th Cir. 2018) Patricia Campbell was employed by the Hawaii Department of Education (“DOE”) for nine years until she resigned because she was allegedly harassed and degraded by students on the basis of her race (white) and her sex. She alleges that students called … Continue Reading

Court Reverses Defense Verdict In Sexual Harassment Case

Meeks v. AutoZone, Inc., 2018 WL 3062555 (Cal. Ct. App. 2018) Natasha Meeks worked as a store manager for AutoZone and claimed that she had been sexually harassed by Juan Fajardo, another store manager. Among other things, Meeks testified that Fajardo would comment on her body and clothes; ask her to go out with him; … Continue Reading

N.D. Cal.: Internal Whistleblowers Are Protected and May Sue Individual Directors

On October 23, 2015, the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California largely denied a motion to dismiss a whistleblower retaliation claim brought by a company’s former general counsel, ruling that: (i) the Sarbanes-Oxley Act (“SOX”) and Dodd-Frank anti-retaliation provisions provide for individual liability against board members; and (ii) the Dodd-Frank anti-retaliation provision … Continue Reading

Employee Could Proceed With Whistleblower Lawsuit Based On Employer’s Mistaken Belief She Had Complained

Diego v. Pilgrim United Church of Christ, 231 Cal. App. 4th 913 (2014) Cecilia Diego, the former assistant director of Pilgrim United’s preschool, sued her former employer for retaliation in violation of public policy that resulted from the director’s mistaken belief that Diego had lodged a complaint with the California Department of Social Services, which … Continue Reading

Male Employee’s Sexual Harassment Claims Should Not Have Been Dismissed

Lewis v. City of Benicia, 224 Cal. App. 4th 1519 (2014) Brian Lewis, a heterosexual man, sued his former employer (the City of Benecia) and two former male supervisors for sexual harassment and the City for retaliation. The trial court granted summary judgment in favor of the supervisors (Steve Hickman and Rick Lantrip) and judgment … Continue Reading

Employee Could Proceed With Whistleblower Claims

McVeigh v. Recology San Francisco, 213 Cal. App. 4th 443 (2013) Brian McVeigh, a former Operations Supervisor for Recology, alleged Recology fired him in retaliation for his reporting possible fraud in connection with California Redemption Value payments made by and to Recology for recycled materials. McVeigh asserted claims under the California False Claims Act and … Continue Reading

Store Manager’s Disability And Harassment Claims Were Properly Dismissed

Lawler v. Montblanc N. Am., LLC, 704 F.3d 1235 (9th Cir. 2013) Cynthia Lawler alleged disability discrimination, harassment, retaliation and intentional infliction of emotional distress (“IIED”) associated with the termination of her employment. The district court granted summary judgment in favor of Montblanc, and the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed, holding that Montblanc had … Continue Reading

Summary Judgment Was Properly Granted In Race Discrimination Case

Batarse v. Service Employees Int’l Union, 209 Cal. App. 4th 820 (2012) Ray Batarse sued the SEIU for race discrimination, among other things, associated with the termination of his employment. The trial court granted the employer’s motion for summary judgment based upon Cal. Code Civ. Proc. § 437c(b)(3) because of Batarse’s failure to include a … Continue Reading

“A Motivating Reason” Jury Instruction Is Upheld In Pregnancy Discrimination Case

Alamo v. Practice Mgmt. Info. Corp., 2012 WL 4450066 (Cal. Ct. App. 2012) Lorena Alamo sued her former employer Practice Management Information Corp. (“PMIC”) for pregnancy discrimination and retaliation in violation of the California Fair Employment and Housing Act (“FEHA”) and wrongful termination in violation of public policy. Alamo was terminated for poor work performance … Continue Reading

New California Law Protects Employee Use of Social Media

California Governor Jerry Brown has signed a new law protecting employee use of social media by prohibiting an employer from requiring or requesting an employee or applicant for employment to disclose a username or password for the purpose of accessing the employee’s personal social media.  Additionally, an employer may not require an employee or applicant … Continue Reading

California Increases Protection of Religious Expression in the Workplace

Effective January 1, 2013, California employers will be required to accommodate their employees’ religious dress and grooming practices. Governor Brown has signed into law the “Workplace Religious Freedom Act of 2012” (authored by Assemblymember Mariko Yamada (D-Davis)), which specifies that religious dress and grooming practices shall be considered a protected religious observance under the California … Continue Reading

Desperate Housewife’s Wrongful Termination Claim Should Have Been Dismissed

Touchstone Television Prods. v. Superior Court, 208 Cal. App. 4th 676 (2012) Touchstone had an agreement with actress Nicollette Sheridan that gave it the exclusive option to renew Sheridan’s contract on an annual basis for an additional six seasons (after the first season) of the television show “Desperate Housewives.” Sheridan sued Touchstone for wrongful termination … Continue Reading

March 2012 California Employment Law Notes

We invite you to review our newly-posted March 2012 California Employment Law Notes – a comprehensive review of the latest and most significant developments in California employment law. The highlights include: Teacher/Minister’s Disability Discrimination Claim Is Barred By The First Amendment Community College Employee Is Entitled To New Trial On Whistleblower Claims LAPD Officer’s $2.1 … Continue Reading

LAPD Officer’s $2.1 Million Jury Award For Retaliation Is Reversed

Joaquin v. City of Los Angeles, 202 Cal. App. 4th 1207 (2012) Richard Joaquin alleged his employment as an LAPD officer was terminated in retaliation for his having filed a sexual harassment complaint against his supervisor, Sgt. James Sands. The case was tried to a jury and Joaquin was awarded more than $2.1 million in … Continue Reading

Community College Employee Is Entitled To New Trial On Whistleblower Claims

Mize-Kurzman v. Marin Cmty. Coll. Dist., 202 Cal. App. 4th 832 (2012) Pamela Mize-Kurzman, who had been promoted to Dean of Enrollment Services as part of a settlement of a previous lawsuit against the district, claimed the district retaliated against her for disclosing what she believed to be violations of the law or regulations to … Continue Reading

Supervisors Cannot Be Held Individually Liable For Military Leave Discrimination/Retaliation

Haligowski v. Superior Court, 200 Cal. App. 4th 983 (2011) While employed by Safway Services, Inc., Lieutenant Mario Pantuso was called to active duty with the United States Navy. When Pantuso returned from his six-month deployment in Iraq and asked for his job back, his immediate supervisor and the regional manager informed him that he … 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

Employee Failed To Prove Existence Of Severe Or Pervasive Sexual Harassment

Brennan v. Townsend & O’Leary Enter., Inc., 199 Cal. App. 4th 1336 (2011) Stephanie Crowley Brennan sued her former employer and a manager who was not her supervisor (Scott Montgomery) for sexual harassment. A jury awarded Brennan $200,000 against the agency and $50,000 against Montgomery, but the trial court granted defendants’ motion for judgment notwithstanding … 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

Employer’s Anti-SLAPP Motion Was Properly Denied

Martin v. Inland Empire Utilities Agency, 198 Cal. App. 4th 611 (2011) Dean Martin, who worked as the executive manager of finance and administration of the municipal water district for the City of Chino, alleged retaliation, racial and age discrimination and harassment, defamation and constructive wrongful termination. In response, defendants filed a demurrer and an … 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
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