A drugstore employee got a renewed chance to make her case for damages after the California Court of Appeal threw out the damages award in her discrimination and wrongful termination case. According to the appeals court, the verdict that awarded the employee $0 in damages for intentional infliction of emotional distress was ”inconsistent” and required reversal.
A female county sheriff’s department employee, who allegedly endured 100 or more unwelcome hugs and at least one unwanted kiss on the cheek, got some good news recently when the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals reversed a lower court’s decision throwing out her case. The appeals court’s ruling cleared the way for the employee to continue pursuing her Fair Employment and Housing Act claim, based upon the hostile work environment created by her supervisor’s unwanted physical contact.
Your employment litigation case will contain many important decisions your legal team and you will have to make. In some cases, you will need to decide whether or not to demand a jury trial. In a recent ruling, the California Supreme Court announced that an employee asserting a common law wrongful termination claim could demand a jury trial for that claim.
In a disability discrimination case, there are several things that can possibly help the employee win her claim. These may include an employer’s non-neutral manner of applying company policies or a failure to engage properly in the interactive process. For one pharmaceutical company sales representative, her employer did none of these improper things, leading the federal courts to conclude that the employer had not violated the Fair Employment and Housing Act.
The Fair Employment and Housing Act requires employers to take certain steps to reasonably accommodate employees with disabilities. In some cases, one such possible accommodation is job reassignment. The law does not require employers to offer reassignment as an accommodation to job applicants. So how does the law classify certain employees at the very beginning of their employment, such as police academy recruits? According to a recent California Court of Appeal decision, probationary and trainee employees are akin to at-will employees who, unlike job applicants, are entitled to reassignment when it is a reasonable accommodation for their disabilities.
California law has significant legal protections to safeguard employees from workplace discrimination. You may wonder, however, what happens if you believe that you’re being targeted because of discrimination, even though you’re not a member of a historically disadvantaged group. For example, what if you believe your employer is discriminating against you because you’re heterosexual? In the case of one Southern California drug counselor, the Second District Court of Appeal concluded that the arguments she made were enough to support an actionable claim that her employer treated heterosexual women more poorly than similarly situated heterosexual men and homosexual employees.
As an employee, pursuing your wrongful termination case may mean clearing many hurdles. In one recent case that the Second District Court of Appeal decided in favor of the employee, the employee faced an extra leap: overcoming his employer’s anti-SLAPP defense. The appeals court concluded that the employer’s acts of discrimination and retaliation could not qualify as acts in furtherance of its free speech rights, thereby granting an important victory to employees of media employers.
Sometimes, a court’s decision not to act can be enormously important in affecting the law. This was the case recently when the California Supreme Court refused to accept an employer’s appeal in a truck driver’s Fair Employment and Housing Act case. The high court’s refusal to issue an opinion in the case leaves intact a Court of Appeal ruling that offers hope to employees that the FEHA’s anti-discrimination provisions may extend not only to persons with disabilities but also to persons without disabilities who are victims of workplace discrimination due to being closely associated with a person with disabilities.
A recent case involving a radio DJ and her former employer is very useful in some of the lessons it imparts. Not the least of these are that you should not give up on your case at the first sign of a setback, and there can be more than one way to prove necessary elements of Fair Employment and Housing Act disability discrimination cases. In the case, the California Court of Appeal threw out a summary judgment in favor of the employer because, even if the employee’s disability did not affect her on-air performance, it could still qualify as impairing the major life activity of working if it forced her to miss work frequently.
California’s prohibitions against employment discrimination, including those contained in the Fair Employment and Housing Act, provide significant protection to employees, guarding them against mistreatment in the form of improper discrimination. In addition to protecting certain groups like women, people of color, and religious minorities, the FEHA also protects some employees who engage in certain protected activities from retaliation by their employers. Unfortunately for one San Francisco parks and recreation worker, the California Court of Appeal determined that the law did not protect him, since the activities that he claimed got him fired were not protected activities under the law.