News & Analysis as of

Unauthorized Work Status Does Not Bar Discrimination Claims

In Salas v. Sierra Chemical Co., the California Supreme Court held that an undocumented worker who was wrongfully terminated in violation of the California Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA) may be awarded lost pay...more

Ninth Circuit Revives Police Officers’ Age Bias Class Action Over Scrapped Exam

Stockwell v. City & County of San Francisco, No. 12-15070 (April 24, 2014): In a recent decision, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals diluted the Supreme Court of the United States’ holding in Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. v. Dukes,...more

Fenwick Employment Brief - April 2014

Supreme Court Confirms FICA Taxes Must be Withheld from Severance Payments - Finding severance payments to be a form of “remuneration for employment,” the United States Supreme Court in United States v. Quality Stores,...more

New Year, New Employment Laws

With the New Year comes a number of new laws, including several that will affect California employers. Employers should include on their list of resolutions a review of the company’s policies and procedures to ensure...more

Ringing in the New Year: A Summary of New California Employment Laws for 2014

California’s 2012-2013 Legislative Session concluded with the enactment of a variety of new laws that will affect California employers. In light of these developments, summarized below, California employers should review...more

Employment Law -- Dec 20, 2013

Despite $27,000 Jury Award, 9th Circuit Approves Almost $700,000 in Attorney’s Fees - Why it matters: Affirming the broad discretion of federal district court judges to award attorney’s fees, the Ninth U.S. Circuit...more

California Court Further Expands FEHA Protections To Employees Based On Association With Disabled Person

Rope v. Auto-Chlor System of Washington, Inc., No. B242003 (October 16, 2013): Recently, a California Court of Appeal held that a fired employee could proceed with a lawsuit in which he claimed that his employer discriminated...more

Fenwick Employment Brief - July 2013: U.S. Supreme Court Decides Several Employment and Employment-Related Cases

Employer strictly liable for supervisor’s harassment of employee only if supervisor has hire and fire authority over subordinates - In a favorable decision for employers, the U.S. Supreme Court in Vance v. Ball State...more

Employment Law Reporter – April 2013: "We won! Wait, no, we lost!": The Narrative Arc of a Disability Discrimination Lawsuit

An employee (Prock) becomes temporarily but totally disabled by an anxiety disorder, goes out on a disability leave and receives disability benefits. The disability leave is extended by the employee’s doctor several times....more

Employment Law Advisory for April 2, 2013: Pregnant Employees May Be Entitled To More Than The Four Month Leave Permitted By The...

Most California employers are keenly aware that California’s Pregnancy Disability Leave Law (“PDLL”) requires an employer to allow an employee disabled by pregnancy, childbirth, or a related medical condition, to take a leave...more

Pregnancy Disability Leave: Not a Matter of Simple Math

Recent case law confirms the need for employers to be cautious about mechanically applying pregnancy disability leave laws without considering the implications of the Fair Employment and Housing Act....more

Employee’s Wrongful Termination And Defamation Claims Were Properly Dismissed

John McGrory alleged his employment was terminated because he is male and because he participated in his employer’s internal investigation. He also alleged defamation associated with a statement the vice president of human...more

The California Supreme Court Provides Mixed Result in Mixed Motive Terminations

In Harris v. City of Santa Monica, (2013) 56 Cal.4th 203, the California Supreme Court provided long-awaited clarification of the standards that apply when an employer terminates an employee for “mixed motives”—that is, when...more

California Employment Law Notes - March 2013

In this Issue: - California Supreme Court Revises Jury Instructions And Trial Procedures In Discrimination Cases, Harris v. Superior Court, 56 Cal. 4th 203 (2013) - Employee Who Exhausted Four Months Of...more

Fenwick Employment Brief - March 2013

In This Issue: - Feature Articles: - California Court Of Appeal Significantly Expands Pregnancy Leave Rights - New York Employer's Flex-time Policy Precluded Holding Employee Accountable For Tardiness...more

Engage—Before You Fire

Consider this scenario: An employee goes out on a leave of absence for anxiety. His doctor says he’s temporarily totally disabled. Then the leave gets extended because the employee is having problems adjusting to the...more

California Employer Should Have Engaged In Interactive Process Before Firing Employee

Prock v. Tamura Corp. of America, No. E054185 (January 25, 2013): In an unpublished opinion, a California Court of Appeal recently overturned the dismissal of a lawsuit where the employee was fired while on a leave of absence...more

Court Rejects FEHA Claim Brought By Fired Department Manager

McGrory v. Applied Signal Tech. Inc., No. H036597 (January 24, 2013): A California Court of Appeal recently upheld the dismissal of a lawsuit where the employee refused to cooperate with a company investigation and claimed...more

Pregnancy Disability Leave – Sanchez v. Swissport

A California appellate court has given employers yet another reason for caution in their handling of employees on pregnancy disability leave. In Sanchez v. Swissport, Inc., B237761 (Feb. 21, 2013), the Second District Court...more

Exhaustion Of Leave Under the Pregnancy Disability Leave Law Does Not Prevent An Employee From Making A Claim Under The FEHA,...

In Sanchez v. Swissport, the California Court of Appeal, Second Appellate District, determined that an employee who has exhausted all permissible leave available under the Pregnancy Disability Leave Law (PDLL), Gov. Code...more

California Supreme Court Issues Employer-Friendly Decision on Mixed-Motive Defense

On February 7, 2013, the California Supreme Court issued a unanimous opinion in Harris v. City of Santa Monica. The California high court upheld the “mixed-motive” defense in cases brought under California’s Fair Employment...more

California Supreme Court Splits The Baby In Mixed-Motive Employment Discrimination Case

In Wynona Harris v. City of Santa Monica, decided on February 7, 2013, the California Supreme Court addressed the following question...more

California Supreme Court's "Mixed Motive" Ruling May Have Major Impact on Fair Employment and Housing Claims

On February 7, 2013 the California Supreme Court, in a unanimous decision, affirmed that backpay and reinstatement are not available remedies for a plaintiff under the Fair Employment and Housing Act (“FEHA”) when an employer...more

Disability Discrimination Claim Failed Where Employee Admitted Her Disability Made It Impossible For Her To Fulfill Her Job Duties

An employee brought a lawsuit against her employer claiming disability discrimination after she was terminated from her employment. The United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit held that the employee could not...more

California Supreme Court to Clarify Standard of Proof in FEHA Discrimination Cases

Last month, the California Supreme Court heard oral arguments in a case that will clarify the standard of proof required for “mixed-motive” discrimination claims under the California Fair Housing and Discrimination Act...more

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