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

Weekly Law Resume - February 2014: Employment Law – Wrongful Termination – Retaliation – Jury Instruction

Romeo Mendoza v. Western Medical Center Santa Ana - Court Of Appeal, Fourth District (January 14, 2014) - In the Harris decision, the California Supreme Court held that CACI No. 2500 (the Federal Employment and...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

Employee Stated a Claim for Associational Discrimination when Fired After Seeking Time Off to Donate a Kidney to his Sister

A trial court dismissed a lawsuit by a former employee against an employer who fired him after he requested leave to donate a kidney to his physically disabled sister. A court of appeal held that the trial court erred in...more

“Familial Status” (Whatever That Means) May Become FEHA’s Newest Protected Category Under SB 404

California employers are well aware that legislators and regulators, both on the state and federal level, have been burning the candle at both ends to generate laws, regulations, and administrative actions designed to hedge...more

California Appellate Court Finds Employees Must Show Discrimination Was A “Substantial Motivating Factor”

Alamo v. Practice Management Information Corp., No. B230909 (September 5, 2013): In Alamo, a former employee who was fired upon her return from maternity leave brought a lawsuit for pregnancy discrimination in violation of...more

Governor Reinforces Mixed Motive Win For Employers In FEHA Cases

Earlier this year, in Harris v. City of Santa Monica, the California Supreme Court gave employers an unexpected win when it approved of the “mixed motive” theory of proof. As a result, in discrimination cases under the Fair...more

Arbitration Decision Precludes Subsequent Non-Statutory Wrongful Termination Claim

A court of appeal recently addressed whether an arbitration decision on a claim of wrongful termination in violation of a collective bargaining agreement, as a result of racially discriminatory practices, bars a subsequent...more

In the wake of the California Supreme Court's Harris Decision, A FEHA Claimant Must Show Discrimination was a "Substantial...

It now should be clear to employers in California that the litigation rules are different as to what must be presented in discrimination lawsuits to succeed. Notably, just last week, in Alamo v. Practice Management...more

Fenwick Employment Brief - August 2013

As this FEB went to publication, Governor Brown signed Senate Bill 292, which clarifies that sexual harassment claims under California’s Fair Employment and Housing Act do not require a showing of sexual desire. The...more

The Best Defense You’ve Never Heard Of – The Federal Enclave Doctrine Restricts Wrongful Termination Remedies

The relatively obscure Federal Enclave Doctrine is potentially a powerful arrow in the quiver of defense counsel, where the tortious act complained of occurred on federal land. In the context of employment-related claims, the...more

Employment Law Newsletter: April 2013

Post-Brinker Meal Break Decisions on Class Certification De-Published by California Supreme Court - We have previously reported on the California Supreme Court’s decision in Brinker Restaurant Corp. v....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

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

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