Resolving a Key Legal Issue, California Supreme Court Holds Individual Employees Not Liable for Retaliation Under the FEHA


California?s Fair Employment and Housing Act (?FEHA?) prohibits employers from discriminating against or harassing their employees on the basis of protected categories. Likewise, the FEHA prohibits employers from retaliating against employees who have complained about discrimination or harassment or have otherwise exercised their rights under the FEHA. A decade ago, the California Supreme Court held in Reno v. Baird, 18 Cal. 4th 640 (1998), that individual employees may not be held personally liable for discrimination under the FEHA. Over the past several years, both state and federal courts have taken pains to distinguish Reno from cases involving retaliation and have held that individual employees may be held liable for retaliation. In a sharply divided opinion in Jones v. Lodge at Torrey Pines, S151022, March 3, 2008, the California Supreme Court reversed those decisions, holding that individual employees may not be held personally liable for retaliation under the FEHA.

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