California Employment Law Update

Tag Archives: retaliation

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

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

SOX Whistle-Blower Claim Was Untimely Filed

Coppinger-Martin v. Solis, 627 F.3d 745 (2010) Carole Coppinger-Martin alleged that Nordstrom, Inc. violated the whistle-blower-protection provision of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002 (“SOX”), 18 U.S.C. § 1514A, by terminating her employment in retaliation for her reporting to supervisors conduct she believed violated the rules and regulations of the SEC. The United States Department of … Continue Reading

New Trial Ordered In Police Officer’s Case Alleging Discrimination and Retaliation

Grobeson v. City of Los Angeles, 190 Cal.App.4th 778 (2010) A jury rejected Mitchell Grobeson’s claims against the City of Los Angeles and Daniel Watson for alleged unlawful discrimination, harassment, retaliation and constructive discharge. The trial court granted Grobeson’s motion for a new trial based on juror misconduct, and the Court of Appeal affirmed except … 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

Employee Who Was Interviewed During Internal Investigation Was Protected From Retaliation

Crawford v. Metropolitan Gov’t of Nashville & Davidson County, 555 U.S. 271 (2009) Vicky Crawford was interviewed during the course of an investigation into “rumors of sexual harassment” involving the Metro School District’s employee relations director, Gene Hughes. Crawford described several instances of sexually harassing behavior that Hughes allegedly directed at her; two other employees … Continue Reading

Employee May Proceed With Sexual Orientation Discrimination Claim

Dominguez v. Washington Mut. Bank, 168 Cal. App. 4th 714 (2008) Yoko Dominguez, a former temporary employee of Washington Mutual assigned to processing outgoing mail, alleged that a co-worker (Javier Gutierrez) had made crude and offensive comments to her after learning that Dominguez was a lesbian. Dominguez complained about Gutierrez’s comments to her supervisor’s supervisor … Continue Reading

Disabled Employee May Have Been Able To Perform Essential Functions Of A Different Job

Nadaf-Rahrov v. Neiman Marcus Group, Inc., 166 Cal. App. 4th 952 (2008) Forough Nadaf-Rahrov worked as a clothes fitter for Neiman Marcus in Dallas before transferring to San Francisco in the mid- 1990s. She suffered from recurrent back and joint pain and was diagnosed with carpal tunnel syndrome and osteoarthritis. In November 2003, she commenced … Continue Reading

Nurse Who Alleged Violation Of False Claims Act Need Not Satisfy Heightened Pleading Standard

Mendiondo v. Centinela Hosp. Med. Ctr., 521 F.3d 1097 (9th Cir. 2008) Marie Bernadette Mendiondo, who worked as a nurse at the medical center, alleged she was terminated in retaliation for her complaints regarding allegedly false billing and reimbursement practices and substandard patient care in violation of the Federal and California False Claims Acts. Although … 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

$1.3 Million Verdict Affirmed In Favor Of Employee Who Was Retaliated Against

Wysinger v. Automobile Club of S. Cal., 157 Cal. App. 4th 413 (2007) Guy Wysinger, a former district manager for ACSC’s Santa Barbara office, filed a complaint with the EEOC in 1999 in which he alleged that ACSC had discriminated against him on the basis of his age. Thereafter, Wysinger’s work environment changed – he was no … Continue Reading

Wrongful Termination And Retaliation Claims Can Proceed Against Screen Actors Guild

Metoyer v. Screen Actors Guild, 504 F.3d 919 (9th Cir. 2007) SAG terminated the employment of Dr. Patricia Heisser Metoyer (SAG’s national executive director of affirmative action) after PricewaterhouseCoopers concluded she had authorized payment of $30,000 of funds available for Guild use to friends, business partners and her husband’s production company. Metoyer responded by filing a … Continue Reading
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