New Trial To Determine Whether Pregnancy Leave Was “Substantial Motivating Reason” For Termination Upon Return

Fenwick & West LLP

Following the California Supreme Court’s guidance in Harris v. City of Santa Monica (February 2013 FEB) that an employment action is illegal only where bias is a “substantial motivating factor” for the action, a California appellate court recently vacated a verdict where the court had instructed the jury that bias need only be “a motivating factor.” In Alamo v. Practice Management Information Corporation, the employer terminated the plaintiff upon her return from pregnancy and baby bonding leave. The employer claimed it had concerns about the plaintiff’s performance prior to the leave, which concerns were exacerbated by information discovered during the leave, and it planned to address those concerns upon her return. A few days prior to her return, the plaintiff visited the office for lunch with a colleague and engaged in an altercation with her temporary replacement. According to the company, it terminated the plaintiff’s employment due to the altercation, the performance concerns, and her manager’s insubordination concerns related to the office visit. Following trial, the jury awarded the plaintiff $10,000 in damages plus $50,000 in attorneys’ fees. The appellate court remanded the case for retrial consistent with its instructional guidance.

DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

© Fenwick & West LLP | Attorney Advertising

Written by:

Fenwick & West LLP

Fenwick & West LLP on:

Reporters on Deadline

Related Case Law

"My best business intelligence, in one easy email…"

Your first step to building a free, personalized, morning email brief covering pertinent authors and topics on JD Supra:
*By using the service, you signify your acceptance of JD Supra's Privacy Policy.
Custom Email Digest
- hide
- hide

This website uses cookies to improve user experience, track anonymous site usage, store authorization tokens and permit sharing on social media networks. By continuing to browse this website you accept the use of cookies. Click here to read more about how we use cookies.