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Employment 

 

  • Pre-litigation action by teacher alleging that his former employer, a school, had failed to take adequate steps to prevent harassment and discrimination from occurring, and that he had experienced harassment and discrimination on the basis of his race and gender from both students and staff members. Teacher resigned and rejected the severance pay offered by the school. After investigating his complaints, the school found teacher’s allegations to be without merit and not actionable. Resolved by mediator’s proposal.

 

  • Pre-litigation action by staff member alleging that her employer, a seminary, and its leadership violated the FEHA by sexually harassing, discriminating, and retaliating against her, failed to prevent these violations, battered, assaulted, and committed gender violence against her, and violated the Ralph Civil Rights Act. The seminary and its leadership denied the allegations, claiming that the seminary is a religious nonprofit organization exempt under the FEHA, that any intimate relationship between the parties was consensual, and that the employee had manipulated the leader out of a substantial sum. Resolved on post-mediation follow-up.

 

  • Pre-litigation action by COO alleging that her former employer, a start-up clinical research company, discriminated and harassed her on the basis of race and gender, retaliated against her for having taken pregnancy and disability leave, and for being a whistleblower, and wrongfully terminated her in violation of public policy. The company alleged that it had fully accommodated COO on her pregnancy and disability leave, and that business necessity forced the enterprise to restructure the business and layoff many employees, including COO. Resolved by mediator’s proposal.

 

  • Pre-litigation action by school administrator alleging that her employer, a school district, engaged in sex, race, age, and disability discrimination and harassment, retaliated against her for taking CFRA leave for her own serious health condition, and forced her to quit. Administrator alleged that the principals at two different schools where she was assigned were disrespectful to her, which she perceived to be discriminatory. School district alleged that it accommodated administrator’s transfer request, that she failed to submit doctor’s notes to support the entirety of her CFRA leave, that she did not engage in a good faith interactive process in anticipation of returning to work, and that she abandoned her job. Resolved by mediator’s proposal.

 

  • Action by warehouse operations lead alleging that his former employer, a logistics company, engaged in race, disability, and family leave discrimination, failed to engage in the interactive process and reasonably accommodate his disability, retaliated against him for taking CFRA leave, and wrongfully terminated him. The employer alleged that employee failed to submit his leave papers, did not respond to the employer’s queries, and abandoned his job. Resolved on post-mediation follow-up.

 

  • Action by 59-year-old warehouse supervisor with a 32-year tenure alleging that his former employer, a logistics company violated the FEHA by discriminating and harassing him on the basis of his age, and failed to prevent discrimination and harassment from occurring. Employer denied any age bias, alleging instead that it terminated the supervisor for his failure to perform. Resolved by mediator’s proposal.

 

  • Arbitration action by 23-year assistant manager alleging that her former employer, a nonprofit corporation, retaliated against her in violation of Labor Code section 1102.5, wrongfully terminated her in violation of public policy, and intentionally inflicted emotional distress upon her. Assistant manager and other employees had become the unwitting victims of a Ponzi scheme orchestrated by a board member of the non-profit’s foundation and by a high-level executive, losing her life savings. The matter was investigated by the FBI and IRS. When assistant manager and other employees filed a civil action against the nonprofit for its role in the fraud, employer terminated assistant manager. Employer alleged that it was not responsible for the Ponzi scheme, and that assistant manager was terminated for poor performance. Resolved by mediator’s proposal following second mediation.

  • Action by wastewater operator alleging that her former employer, a water district, engaged in sex, disability, pregnancy, and family leave discrimination, failed to engage in the interactive process and reasonably accommodate her disability, created a hostile work environment that enabled sexual harassment, retaliated against her after she complained, was negligent in hiring and supervising its staff, and wrongfully terminated her. The employer alleged that the operator was let go as an at-will employee during her probationary period. Resolved by mediator’s proposal.

  • Action by former driver, alleging that his former employer, a  package delivery company, discriminated and retaliated against him for taking family leave during the COVID-19 epidemic to protect his child’s serious congenital heart condition, failed to engage in the interactive process, did not reasonably accommodate him, did not take action to prevent discrimination, violated wage-and-hour laws, and wrongfully terminated him. Employer alleged that it had fully complied with wage-and-hour laws, that it had repeatedly accommodated driver, and that it had granted him family leave, but that driver had failed to submit a doctor’s note to extend his leave or to return to work when his leave period expired. Resolved by mediator’s proposal.

 

  • Action by delivery driver alleging that her former employer, a logistics company, and her former supervisor violated the FEHA by engaging in sex discrimination, quid pro quo and hostile work environment sexual harassment, sexual assault and battery, disability discrimination, failed to engage in the interactive process and reasonably accommodate her back disability, intentionally and negligently inflicted emotional distress upon her, negligently hired and supervised her supervisor, violated the Bane Act, retaliated against her under Labor Code section 1102.5, and wrongfully terminated her in violation of public policy. Employer denied these claims, and asserted that driver had agreed to arbitration. Employer further alleged that driver was terminated because she was unable to safely perform the essential functions of her job on account of her narcolepsy. Moreover, employer and supervisor claimed poverty. Resolved by mediator’s proposal on this and a companion PAGA class action.

 

  • Pre-litigation action by a staff member alleging that her former employer, a non-profit organization providing adult developmental services, discriminated against and harassed her on the basis of her disability, retaliated against her for complaining, failed to prevent discrimination, breached her employment contract, wrongfully terminated her in violation of public policy, and intentionally inflicted emotional distress upon her. Staff member had notified HR and taken off four days for a sinus infection, consulted a doctor, and returned to work afterwards. Staff member and her supervisor had exchanged texts about her expected return date. Employer alleged that it terminated staff member for no call/no show absence. Resolved following mediation.

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  • Action by journeyman alleging that his former employer, a logistics company, had engaged in the fraud of intentional misrepresentation and false promises, and in wrongful adverse employment action against him during the COVID-19 pandemic. He alleged that COVID-screening procedures caused him to log in late. When the company investigated and found more irregularities, it advised journeyman to resign with the promise of no bar on future rehire. When journeyman later applied for an opening, he was ineligible for rehire. Employer alleged that journeyman had voluntarily resigned after an investigation showed that he was dishonest and had falsified his timecards during the pandemic. Resolved by mediator’s proposal.

 

  • Pre-litigation action by African-American cook alleging that his former employer, a hospitality group, failed to prevent harassment from occurring when co-workers repeatedly used the “N” word and other racial epithets in his presence. When he complained to a supervisor, allegedly no corrective action took place. Instead, cook alleged that employer retaliated against him with a performance improvement plan. Cook further alleged that employer violated wage and hour laws. Cook ultimately felt forced to quit. Employer denied these allegations, except for one incident when the “N” word was used by a co-worker at a company-sponsored off-site event, after which the co-worker was disciplined. Resolved by mediator’s proposal following mediation.

 

  • Action by recruiter alleging that his former employer, a hospital group, discriminated against him on the basis of disability, failed to engage in the interactive process and reasonably accommodate him on his cardiac condition, retaliated against him, and wrongfully terminated him. Employer alleged that it engaged in the interactive process and reasonably accommodated recruiter with two leave requests. Employer allegedly terminated recruiter for failing to maintain the confidentiality of job searches, which caused embarrassment and confusion. The parties initially stipulated to arbitration. When employer was untimely in paying arbitration fees within 30 days in contravention of Code Civ. Proc. § 1281.97, the matter was remanded to Superior Court. Employer then appealed the ruling to the Court of Appeal. Resolved globally by mediator’s proposal.

 

  • Action by warehouse worker alleging that his former employer, a health care solutions company, discriminated against him on the basis of disability and age, failed to engage in the interactive process and to reasonably accommodate him, retaliated against him, failed to prevent discrimination under the FEHA, negligently inflicted emotional distress upon him, and wrongfully terminated him. Employer alleged that it had engaged in the interactive process and reasonably accommodated worker with over two years of indefinite leave, and that he was unable to perform the essential function of his job of lifting 50 pounds with or without an accommodation. Resolved by mediator’s proposal.

 

  • Action by 20-year, part-time courier alleging that his former employer, a delivery company, discriminated against him on the bases of race, national origin, disability and age; failed to engage in the interactive process; failed to reasonably accommodate him; retaliated against him; wrongfully terminated him in violation of the FEHA; and engaged in unfair business practices. The company alleged that it terminated courier for falsifying his time card for time not worked. Resolved by mediator’s proposal.

 

  • Action by company alleging that its founder, chairperson of its board of directors, and former CEO breached her employment contract, violated trade secrets, breached her duty of loyalty, and breached payment of her promissory note. Founder counterclaimed alleging that company discriminated against her on the basis of gender, failed to prevent sex discrimination, retaliated against her after she complained, wrongfully terminated her in violation of public policy, violated her right of publicity, and misappropriated her name and likeness. Resolved following mediation.

 

  • Pre-litigation action by bartender alleging that her former employer, an airport bar, failed to prevent a hostile work environment created by co-workers and supervisors, refused to transfer her to another establishment, retaliated against her for complaining, failed to accommodate her anxiety and lactation needs, committed wage and hour violations, violated Cal-OSHA guidelines, intentionally inflicted emotional distress upon her, and constructively terminated her. Employer denied the allegations, claiming that bartender failed to report these allegations until after she voluntarily resigned, and that its follow-up investigation found bartender’s allegations to be without merit. Resolved by mediator’s proposal.

 

  • Action in the pre-pandemic era by an 18-year marketing and communications executive alleging that her former employer, a private hospital group, breached her implied contract and implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing, discriminated against her for her physical disability, failed to engage in the interactive process, and failed to reasonably accommodate her driving restrictions. Determining that executive could not perform the essential function of her job with or without an accommodation, hospital group terminated her. Hospital group also alleged that executive took family trips for recreational activities that exceeded her work and driving restrictions. Resolved following mediation.

 

  • Action by assembler alleging that his former employer, a sheet metal fabrication and component manufacturer, discriminated against him on the basis of disability, failed to engage in the interactive process, failed to reasonably accommodate him, retaliated against him, and wrongfully terminated him in violation of the FEHA. The manufacturer alleged that it engaged in the interactive process and reasonably accommodated assembler when he was injured, reassigned him temporarily to light duty, and accommodated his request for leave. However, when manufacturer lost a major client, it was forced to lay off some employees, including assembler, who had been released to return to work. Resolved following mediation.

 

  • Action by 29-year supervisor alleging that her former employer, a shipping and package delivery business, discriminated against her on the basis of disability, age and sex, failed to engage in the interactive process and to reasonably accommodate her, created a hostile work environment, failed to prevent discrimination and harassment, interfered with her CFRA leave rights, retaliated against her for taking protected leave, and wrongfully terminated her. Employer alleged that supervisor had falsified scanning records, that she had falsely given work credit to a relative who also worked for employer, and had retired voluntarily. Resolved by mediator’s proposal.

 

  • Pre-litigation action by salesperson alleging that her former employer, a medical technologies provider, discriminated against her for her life-long speech and language disability, failed to engage in the interactive process and reasonably accommodate her, failed to prevent discrimination and harassment, retaliated against her for complaining, wrongfully terminated her, failed to pay for her earned commission, and committed various PAGA violations. Employer denied these allegations, claiming instead that salesperson was let go for under performance. Resolved by mediator’s proposal.

 

  • Action by three long-time workers alleging that their former employer, a uniform and apparel company, discriminated, harassed, and retaliated against them on the bases of disability, national origin, sex, association with others with disability, and for having taken family and parental leave, that employer failed to engage in the interactive process and reasonably accommodate them, and that it wrongfully terminated them. Employer alleged the economic downturn during the COVID-19 pandemic forced the company to implement reductions in force that impacted many employees, including these workers. Resolved by mediator’s proposal.

 

  • Action by former account executive alleging that his former employer, an online debit collection business, engaged in fraud, promissory estoppel, breach of contract, intentional and negligent infliction of emotional distress, and unlawful business practices. When executive was laid off and accepted a severance agreement, employer agreed to pay for executive’s COBRA premiums for six months or until he received coverage with a new job. However, employer did not pay for the premiums, and executive paid for the premiums out of his own pocket. Employer alleged that a clerical error caused unintended delay on paying the premiums, that employer reimbursed executive when he filed suit, and that executive failed to inform employer when he received coverage after he was hired for a new job. Resolved by mediator’s proposal.

 

  • Pre-arbitration action by executive director alleging that her former employer, a for-profit vocational university, engaged in age and gender discrimination, terminated her for being a whistleblower in violation of Labor Code section 1102.5, breached the covenant of good faith and fair dealing, and defamed her reputation. Employer denied these claims, alleging that it terminated director for violating the university’s policy. Resolved by mediator’s proposal.

 

  • Pre-arbitration action by director of nursing alleging that her former employer, a for-profit college, interfered with or unlawfully denied her protected leave in violation of CFRA when she took time off to care for her cancer-stricken stepfather, retaliated against and wrongfully terminated her for taking leave, engaged in unfair business practices, and committed other violations. College alleged the defenses of mixed motive and the business judgment rule. Resolved through mediation. 

 

  • Action by 12-year operations supervisor alleging that his former employer, a waste service, discriminated and retaliated against him for being associated with a disabled person, and failed to engage in the interactive process and reasonably accommodate him under the FEHA when he took protected family leave to care for his son, who underwent surgery and chemotherapy for a cancerous brain tumor. Company denied these claims, alleging instead that supervisor was terminated for unsatisfactory job performance. Resolved on follow up by mediator’s proposal.

 

  • Action by two siblings alleging that their former employer, a labeling company, had discriminated against brother for his disability after he tested positive for COVID-19 in the early days of the pandemic, discriminated against sister because she was associated with brother, failed to engage in the interactive process, failed to provide reasonable accommodation, failed to prevent discrimination, and wrongfully terminated them. Employer denied these charges, alleging instead that the siblings, who had worked there for decades, had violated company policy. Brother had dropped off lunch for a co-worker at the company parking lot before he learned of his positive COVID test results. Sister had  left work early, refused to sign a warning for allegedly failing to report brother’s condition before she knew he had COVID, and took days off for illness without prior approval. Resolved on follow up by mediator’s proposal.

 

  • Pre-arbitration action by 14-year supply operator alleging that his former employer, an organ and tissue donation group, discriminated against him on the basis of disability, national origin, and race, failed to engage in the interactive process, failed to reasonably accommodate him, and retaliated against him for taking CFRA and disability leave. Employer alleged that it had reasonably accommodated employee’s disability by granting him CFRA leave, and extending his disability leave under a personal leave. However, immediately before employee could return to work without any restrictions, employer reorganized and eliminated employee’s job, sent him a letter of termination, and advised him to look for open positions on employer’s Web site. Resolved by mediator’s proposal following mediation.

  • Action by teller alleging that his former employer, a bank, discriminated against him on the basis of his disability after he was injured in an auto accident, failed to engage in the interactive process, retaliated against him for taking CFRA leave, failed to prevent discrimination, negligently supervised his supervisors, and intentionally inflicted emotional distress against him. Bank alleged that it had engaged in the interactive process and fully accommodated teller, that his performance was a concern, and that he was laid off along with many other employees in a reduction-in-force for legitimate business reasons. Resolved by mediator’s proposal.

 

  • Action by a part-time sales associate alleging that her former employer, a retail store, violated the FEHA by discriminating against and harassing her because of her race, failed to prevent discrimination and harassment, retaliated against her when she complained about selective enforcement of the dress code and insufficient training, constructively terminated her, violated public policy by virtue of the above, and intentionally inflicted emotional distress upon her. Employer alleged that it had immediately addressed sales associate’s concerns, was ready to train employee on various skills, including theft prevention by customers, when associate voluntarily resigned and confirmed her decision upon follow-up by employer. Resolved following mediation.

 

  • Action by manager alleging that her former employer, a bank, engaged in FEHA disability discrimination, failed to engage in the interactive process, did not reasonably accommodate her, retaliated against her for complaining, wrongfully terminated her, intentionally and negligently inflicted emotional distress upon her, and interfered with her prospective economic benefit. Employer alleged that it had reasonably accommodated manager, that manager had misrepresented her injuries, that she had failed to perform, and that she had lied about her prior termination for misconduct by another employer. Resolved following mediation.

 

  • Action following reversal of summary judgment on appeal by 25-year administrator alleging that her former employer, a university, violated the FEHA by discriminating against and harassing her on the basis of her gender and age, and by retaliating against her for complaining. The administrator alleged that her dean bypassed her for promotion, and instead appointed younger, less qualified candidates whom he favored. The candidate who was promoted allegedly determined that job vacancies should be filled by “younger” candidates, easing out long-time employees, including the administrator. When the administrator complained, her responsibilities were removed such that she felt obsolete and felt compelled to resign. The university denied these claims and alleged that the complaint was untimely filed. The trial court granted summary judgment for the university. The Court of Appeal reversed and remanded. Resolved by mediator’s proposal.

 

  • Action by maintenance technician alleging that his former employer, a pharmaceutical company, violated the FEHA by discriminating against and harassing him on the basis of his national origin (Vietnamese American), by retaliating against him for complaining, by failing to provide a workplace free of discrimination, and by failing to engage in a good faith interactive process, and further that his employer wrongfully terminated him in violation of public policy and in contravention of his implied employment contract. Employer alleged that the technician was dishonest in reporting that he had spent two hours on inspecting a cleanroom, when access badge records showed he spent only four minutes on the task. As a result, the cleanroom was found to be soaked with leaked water, which led to technician’s termination. Resolved by mediator’s proposal.

 

  • Pre-arbitration action by former production supervisor alleging that his former employer, an aerospace components manufacturer, wrongfully terminated him, discriminated against him on the basis of his sleep apnea disability and age when his shift was changed, harassed and retaliated against him after he complained, failed to provide a workplace free from the alleged unlawful acts, and denied him reasonable accommodation. Employer alleged that it was not notified of employee’s sleep apnea disability, but nonetheless moved him back to his original shift for production reasons. It further alleged that employee was eventually laid off, along with many other employees, in a reduction-in-force for legitimate business reasons. Resolved by mediator’s proposal.

 

  • Pre-arbitration action by former employee alleging that her former employer, a pharmaceutical company, failed to prevent interference with her California Family Rights Act (CFRA) leave when it first granted her such protected leave, but then terminated her immediately before her surgery. Former employee also alleged the business engaged in disability discrimination, failed to engage in the interactive process, created a hostile work environment, intentionally inflicted emotional distress upon her, failed to prevent discrimination and harassment, retaliated against her under Labor Code sections 6310 and 1102.5, and wrongfully terminated her. Employer alleged that plaintiff was terminated for having double labeled one vial of medication and for two prior mislabeling errors. Resolved by mediator’s proposal.

 

  • Action by truck driver alleging that his former employer, a composite materials and technical solutions supplier, wrongfully terminated, discriminated, harassed and retaliated against him, and denied him a workplace free from discrimination. During the COVID-19 pandemic, driver had requested for and employer accommodated his request for reduced work hours, so that he could care for his young children, who were home for remote learning when schools closed.  Driver alleged he was terminated because of retaliation for taking leave. Employer alleged it terminated employee for dishonesty in forging a delivery receipt, leaving hazardous material in an alley rather than within the secure gated compound of a client, and driving on a street where trucks were barred that led to a citation. Resolved by mediator's proposal.

 

  • Action by former employee alleging that her former employer, an investment business (founded by her late spouse to whom she was divorced), was negligent per se in failing to protect her from workplace injury she experienced in a robbery committed in its parking lot, fraudulently concealed its failure to purchase workers’ compensation insurance, and committed the tort of conversion when it failed to return all her personal possessions after employee left her job. Employer alleged that the parking lot crime committed by third parties was not reasonably foreseeable in the office’s quiet and low-crime residential neighborhood, that it had not concealed its workers compensation insurance status, and that all of employee’s personal possessions had been returned to her. Resolved by mediator’s proposal.

 

  • Action by 30-year stationary engineer alleging that his former employer, a hospital, discriminated against and harassed him on the basis of age and disability, failed to reasonably accommodate him, retaliated against him for requesting accommodations, failed to prevent discrimination from occurring, and wrongfully terminated him in violation of public policy. Hospital alleged that it had granted CFRA leave followed by two years of extended disability leave for engineer to undergo knee surgery, amputation, and fitting of his prosthetic leg. Although engineer returned to work without restrictions. he was unable to perform the essential functions of his job with or without an accommodation in climbing tall ladders, pulling, pushing, squatting and responding to emergencies, thereby posing a danger to himself and to others. Hospital provided to engineer open positions that he could have performed, but he failed to apply for them, and was ultimately terminated. Resolved by mediator’s proposal.

 

  • Action by an emergency room nurse alleging that her employer, a county hospital, violated the FEHA by discriminating against her for her pregnancy and disability, failed to reasonably accommodate her and engage in the interactive process, retaliated against her, failed to prevent discrimination, and interfered with her CFRA leave. Employer alleged that nurse was fully accommodated for her pregnancy and disability, but her doctor’s work restriction that she not lift any weight meant that she could not perform the essential functions of her job with or without an accommodation. Resolved on follow-up after mediation.

 

  • Pre-arbitration action by visually-impaired director of payroll operations alleging that his former employer, a hospital, failed to engage in the interactive process and reasonably accommodate him, discriminated and retaliated against him for taking CFRA and disability leave, and failed to prevent discrimination and retaliation from occurring. The hospital alleged that it had engaged in the interactive process with the director, granted his intermittent leave requests for treatment, granted his request for his CFRA leave, and reasonably accommodated him by extending his disability leave thereafter. Even though director never returned to work, failed to provide an updated health report, and failed to mitigate his damages, hospital nonetheless kept director active on the books. Resolved by mediator’s proposal.

 

  • Action by director of philanthropy alleging that her former employer, a church-affiliated senior residential facility, retaliated against and constructively terminated her for being a whistleblower.  Accessing senior residents’ financial information, the facility required its fundraisers to persuade the seniors to sign declarations bequeathing their assets to the facility. When philanthropy director raised concerns and reported about possible elder financial abuse, facility allegedly retaliated against her and forced her out. Facility denied these allegations, claiming instead that employee failed to perform and voluntarily resigned. Resolved by mediator’s proposal. 

 

  • Action by 17-year echocardiography technician alleging that his former employer, a hospital, discriminated against him on the basis of age, race, and disability, failed to engage in the interactive process, failed to reasonably accommodate him, and wrongfully terminated him in violation of the FEHA. Hospital alleged that some of technician’s claims, which had undergone three years of union grievances, were time barred even after tolling, that his claims were without merit, that doctors and patients had complained about technician, and that he was terminated following progressive discipline for performance and communication issues. Resolved by mediator’s proposal.

 

  • Action by seamstress alleging that her employer, a uniform and apparel company, discriminated against and harassed her on the basis of her disability and age, created a hostile work environment, failed to reasonably accommodate her or engage in the interactive process, failed to prevent discrimination and harassment, retaliated against her, violated meal and rest breaks, and engaged in unfair business practices. Employer alleged that seamstress was fully accommodated for her disability, that she had taken a three-year leave but remained on the books, and that her complaints were not substantiated by the company’s investigation.  Resolved by mediator’s proposal.

 

  • Action by service mechanic alleging that, during the COVID-19 pandemic, his former employer, an elevator company, violated the FEHA by discriminating and retaliating against him for his underlying medical condition of asthma and diabetes; failed to prevent discrimination, engage in the interactive process or reasonably accommodate him; and wrongfully terminated him. Employer alleged that mechanic took advantage of the pandemic by electing to take a voluntary furlough under a collective bargaining agreement, and by collecting disability payment benefits. Employer alleged mechanic did not request for protected leave, failed to provide a doctor’s note for any work restrictions, and was never terminated. Resolved by mediator’s proposal.

 

  • Action by food service workers alleging that their employer, a donut shop, discriminated against and harassed them on the basis of their national origin, created a hostile work environment, retaliated against them when they complained, failed to prevent discrimination and harassment in violation of the FEHA, wrongfully terminated them, violated wage-and-hour laws, and engaged in various torts. Employer denied these allegations, conceding only on the wage-and-hour violations. Resolved by mediator’s proposal.

 

  • Action by operations superintendent alleging that his former employer, a solid waste collection company, discriminated, harassed and retaliated against him under the FEHA by refusing to transfer him to a different city to take care for his father who had cancer, because employee was associated with a family member who had a disability/medical condition; failed to engage in the interactive process and reasonable accommodation under the FEHA; and failed to prevent discrimination and harassment under the FEHA; as well as wrongfully terminated him in violation of public policy. Employer alleged that the company had engaged in the interactive process and had offered to reasonably accommodated employee with intermittent leave. However, employee never formally applied for a transfer.  Even if he did, employee was ineligible for a transfer because he was continuously on performance improvement plans.  Employer ultimately terminated employee for poor performance. Resolved following mediation.

 

  • Appeal by general manager after the trial court sustained demurrers on various counts and removed co-defendants on his race employment discrimination action. General manager alleged that his former employer, a production company, violated the FEHA by discriminating against him on the basis of race, retaliated against him after he filed his DFEH complaints, breached his employment contract, and wrongfully terminated him in violation of public policy. Employer denied the charges, alleging that general manager had bullied employees in violation of company policy, and that customers had complained about his performance. Resolved globally in both the appellate and trial courts by mediator’s proposal.

 

  • Action by food service worker alleging that another food service worker sexually harassed and battered her at the hospital where they both worked. She alleged that the hospital negligently hired the other worker, failed to prevent the harassment, retaliated against her when she complained, intentionally inflicted emotional distress upon her, and constructively terminated her. The hospital alleged that any harassment was between co-workers, and that the hospital immediately conducted a thorough investigation when notified of the worker’s complaint, that the investigative report found no harassment had occurred, and that worker resigned of her own accord. Resolved following mediation.

 

  • Action by warehouse worker alleging that his former employer, a wholesaler, violated the FEHA by discriminating and retaliating against him for his disability after he was severely injured in an auto accident, failed to engage in the interactive process, failed to reasonably accommodate him, and wrongfully terminated him during his disability leave. Employer alleged that it had reasonably accommodated employee after his injury, that employee could not perform the essential functions of his job with or without an accommodation, and that employee was laid off during COVID-19’s stay-at-home order. Resolved by mediator’s proposal.

 

  • Action by a police officer alleging that his employer, a county, and its law enforcement officers violated his 42 U.S.C. § 1983 civil rights under the First, Fourth, Fifth and Fourteenth Amendments, and alleged County was liable under Monell. When officer and his spouse alleged mutual spousal abuse, law enforcement arrested them both and seized weapons from the home, social services removed their child, and the dependency court placed the child with a family member for many months. At the same time, officer was suspended for a short while, was required to enroll in various preventative courses, and was ineligible for promotion for a time. County alleged that it complied with all applicable constitutional authorities, statutory provisions, and institutional protocol in light of the situation. Resolved by mediator’s proposal.

 

  • Action by makeup artist, an independent contractor to a studio, alleging that its employee sexually assaulted and harassed her in violation of the FEHA, Unruh, Ralph and Bane Civil Rights Acts, as well as alleging negligent supervision and intentional infliction of emotional distress. The studio executive to whom contractor twice confided failed to report the incident in violation of company policy. Human resources finally learned about the incident, investigated, terminated employee, and disciplined the executive. However, the union that represented employee contested his termination through labor arbitration. Finding credibility issues, the arbitrator ordered the studio to reinstate the alleged perpetrator. In the civil action, studio alleged that contractor had earlier signed an agreement to release it from liability, and asserted that the action was time barred. Based on the arbitrator’s findings, both studio and employee challenged contractor’s credibility. Resolved by mediator’s proposal.

 

  • Action by 21-year truck driver alleging that his former employer, a water and wastewater treatment solutions provider, allowed its employees to engage in reverse race and national origin discrimination against the driver, failed to engage him in the interactive process or provide him with reasonable accommodation, did not prevent retaliation against him, wrongfully terminated him, engaged in meal and rest break violations, and engaged in unfair competition. Employer denied knowledge of any co-worker discrimination against driver, alleging that he never complained to management. Company also alleged that it reasonably accommodated driver’s disability by granting him both workers’ compensation and CFRA/FMLA leave, which was exhausted. Moreover, the permanent work restrictions ordered by employee’s doctor meant that driver could not perform the essential functions of his job with or without an accommodation. As a result, employee voluntarily resigned. Resolved after mediation.

 

  • Pre-litigation action by a technician alleging that his former employer, a pharmaceutical company, engaged in FEHA reverse race discrimination and harassment, same-sex sexual harassment, retaliation, negligent hiring, medical leave retaliation, intentional infliction of emotional distress, and wrongful termination. Employer denied any wrongful conduct, alleging that other similarly situated employees did not suffer discrimination, harassment or retaliation. Company further alleged that it neither knew nor should have known about any such alleged co-worker conduct, because technician failed to complain to the company. Instead, plaintiff did not provide the necessary paperwork for taking weeks of disability leave, and he voluntarily resigned. Resolved by mediator’s proposal.

 

  • Action by insulator alleging that his former employer, an industrial refrigeration company, discriminated and retaliated against him for his disability and age in violation of the FEHA, did not engage in the interactive process and reasonable accommodation, failed to prevent discrimination, failed to grant him CFRA leave, breached the duty of good faith and fair dealing, and wrongfully termination him. Company alleged that insulator had worked nine months for employer, and was not eligible for CFRA leave. The day insulator was seriously injured in a non-work-related car accident was the same day the Governor issued a stay-at-home order in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. While employer granted insulator’s reasonable accommodation request for six-weeks’ unpaid leave, employee instead elected to be laid-off (along with other employees) for COVID-19, so that he could benefit from both regular unemployment and supplemental COVID-19 unemployment benefits under the CARES Act. While employee received COBRA health insurance coverage information, he failed to apply for COBRA and the policy offer lapsed. Meanwhile, employee’s hospital bills mounted and he was forced to file for bankruptcy to discharge his debts. Resolved in mediation.

 

  • Action by an unsuccessful job applicant for a law enforcement position alleging that the prospective employer, a federal law enforcement agency, engaged in disability discrimination, failed to reasonably accommodate or engage him in the interactive process, and retaliated against him when he requested an appeal in violation of the Rehabilitation Act.  Applicant has a congenital defect that restricted the full extension of his elbow, which he claimed would not prohibit him from carrying out the essential duties of a federal agent, but which nonetheless prejudiced the scoring of his physical fitness test. The government alleged that no discrimination or retaliation occurred, that applicant was reasonably accommodated on his fitness test, and that applicant nonetheless failed the test even with an accommodation. Resolved following mediation.

  • Action by a probationary instructor alleging that his former employer, a public college, engaged in race discrimination, harassment, and retaliation after he complained about denial of the opportunity to self-evaluate his performance. The college denied any wrongdoing.  It alleged that the instructor had not performed up to standard and that he had voluntarily resigned.  In addition, college alleged that instructor failed to properly exhaust his administrative remedies, and that his action was time barred. Resolved by mediator’s proposal.

 

  • Pre-litigation action by a development manager alleging that her former employer, a medical center, engaged in FEHA pregnancy and CFRA family leave discrimination and harassment, retaliated against her for taking leave and for complaining, failed to prevent such conduct, and constructively terminated her in violation of public policy.  Employer alleged that former employee was reasonably accommodated on every request, had underperformed, and had voluntarily resigned. Resolved by mediator’s proposal.

 

  • Pre-arbitration action by in-house attorney alleging that her former employer, a communications start-up, engaged in FEHA disability discrimination, harassment and retaliation, failed to engage in the interactive process and reasonable accommodation, committed promissory estoppel, wrongful termination in violation of public policy, and unfair business practices.  Employer alleged that the company had liberally accommodated attorney with more than three months of leave for her anxiety, childcare and home-schooling needs, as well as surgery during the COVID-19 pandemic.  However, attorney was unable to perform the essential functions of her job with or without an accommodation, and an indefinite leave would have caused undue hardship to the company.  Resolved by mediator’s proposal.

 

  • Action by 11-year forklift operator alleging that her former employer, a logistics company, engaged in FEHA disability discrimination, harassment and retaliation, failed to engage in the interactive process and reasonable accommodation, committed various wage-and-hour violations, engaged in unfair competition, and wrongfully terminated her.  Employer alleged that the company had engaged in the interactive process and reasonably accommodated employee multiple times in accordance with her doctor’s notes, and that she took meal and rest breaks as documented on time sheets. Company further alleged that it was employee’s numerous attendance issues that led to her termination.  Resolved by mediator’s proposal.

 

  • Action by short-term shipping employee alleging that his former employer, a package labeling company, engaged in various wage-and-hour violations, as well as FEHA violations by failing to prevent co-workers from harassing him as a “sissy” and crybaby,” retaliating against him for his disability after he hurt his back, failing to engage in the interactive process and provide reasonable accommodation, and engaged in unfair business practices.  Company alleged that employee, who worked there for less than two months, took meal and rest breaks as documented on time sheets, was fully and timely compensated, was provided the interactive process, and was reasonably accommodated for every request.  However, company alleged that employee failed to report any co-worker harassment and was terminated for consecutive days of no call/no show.  Resolved by mediator’s proposal. 

 

  • Action by a janitor alleging that his former employer, a restaurant, engaged in various wage-and hour violations, as well as discriminated and retaliated against him for his disability after he hurt his knee, failed to engage in the interactive process, failed to reasonably accommodate him, and engaged in unfair business practices. Restaurant alleged that janitor, who worked there for three weeks, took meal and rest breaks as documented on time sheets, took three days off after he allegedly hurt his knee, returned to work with a doctor’s note showing no restrictions, never asked for an accommodation, did not show up for work, then allegedly told a coworker he found another job and never returned to work.  Resolved in post-mediation negotiations.

 

  • Action by a 25-year pharmacy technician alleging that his former employer, a hospital, engaged in FEHA disability and age discrimination, failed to prevent discrimination, retaliated against him for having taken CFRA and FMLA leave, and wrongfully terminated him in violation of public policy. Employer alleged that it had repeatedly cooperated and granted intermittent CFRA leaves to the technician.  Employer alleged that technician’s termination was justified, because he had lost a narcotic prescription, had repeatedly failed to identify expired medications on incomplete inventories, and was dishonest about it.  Resolved following mediation.

 

  • Action by remote telephone case worker alleging that her former employer, a senior center, engaged in age and disability discrimination, failed to engage in the interactive process and reasonably accommodate her following her workers’ compensation leave, and retaliated against and wrongfully terminated her. Employer alleged that case worker had no work restrictions and never requested reasonable accommodation.  In addition, case worker’s job classification was eliminated in a layoff.  She was given retraining and the opportunity to apply for vacancies, and was offered a severance package as an option.  Moreover, the vast majority of similarly-situated employees found new positions with employer, of which 94 percent were over the age of 40.  Resolved by mediator’s proposal. 

 

  • Pre-litigation action by baker alleging that her former employer, a specialty bakery and its managing agent, engaged in perceived disability and medical condition (diabetes) discrimination and harassment, and engaged in retaliation when baker complained.  During the pandemic, when a co-worker’s boyfriend was first exposed to COVID-19, both co-worker and baker were quarantined and underwent COVID-19 testing.  When the results were negative, baker and co-worker returned to work.  Later, baker had a skin rash, and again quarantined, and underwent another COVID-19 test as well as an antibody test.  After receiving negative results on these tests, baker asked to return to work without requesting for any accommodation.  Rather than returning baker to work, employer instead placed her on continuous unpaid leave and replaced her position with a new employee without any apparent disability or medical condition.  Employer alleged baker’s underlying diabetic condition made her a direct threat to herself in the event she were to be exposed to COVID-19 in its store.  Employer also alleged it could not afford to upgrade its air conditioning system, something baker had not requested.  Resolved by mediator’s proposal

 

  • Action by probationary truck driver alleging that her former employer, a trucking company, assigned her to mentors who sexually and racially harassed her on the road, retaliated when she complained, committed various wage and hour violations, and wrongfully terminated her.  Employer alleged driver was terminated for causing two trucking accidents. Resolved by mediator’s proposal. 

 

  • Action by an executive alleging that her former employer, a bank, engaged in gender, national origin and age discrimination, breach of contract, breach of the covenant of good faith and fair dealing, and wrongful termination. Employer alleged former executive’s termination was justified for poor performance. Resolved by mediator’s proposal.

 

  • Actions by temporary employee alleging that her former employers, a shipping company and the staffing agency that arranged her hiring, discriminated against her on the basis of pregnancy, failed to engage in the interactive process, failed to prevent and remedy that discrimination, wrongfully terminated her, and intentionally and negligently inflicted emotional distress upon her.  Temporary employee pursued one action against shipping company in court and the other action against staffing agency in arbitration.  Employers denied the allegations, alleged temporary employee never informed them she was pregnant, never requested any accommodation, and resigned after failing to compete favorably for a permanent position.  Resolved globally by mediator’s proposal.

  • Action by accounts manager alleging that his former employer, an airline industry business, engaged in disability and racial discrimination, harassment and retaliation, violation of CFRA, failure to prevent such conduct under the FEHA, wrongful termination, wage and hour violations, and intentional and negligent infliction of emotional distress.  Employer denied the allegations, and alleged former employee was terminated for cause for failing to timely complete a random drug test.  Resolved through mediation.

 

  • Action by an electrician alleging that his former employer, an electrical systems company, engaged in racial harassment, retaliation, and failure to prevent such conduct under the FEHA, as well as violated the Labor Code.  Employer denied the allegations and alleged former employee had attendance and punctuality problems, and had voluntarily quit to take on other work. Resolved through mediation.

 

  • Action by a retail account executive alleging that her former employer, a package management business, engaged in pregnancy and marital status discrimination and harassment, retaliated against her for complaining of the same, and wrongfully terminated her because she married and planned to start a family. Employer alleged former employee’s termination was justified, because she violated the company’s zero tolerance policy for making racially inappropriate comments in the workplace.  Resolved through mediation.

 

  • ERISA interpleader actions brought by pension plan administrator and group life insurer of deceased employee to resolve the identify of his surviving spouse, beneficiary of the plan and policy.  During his lifetime and working years, decedent had married his first wife of many years, then separated from but never divorced her.  Decedent nonetheless indicated that he was not married on his pension plan.  After decedent retired and began receiving his pension, he married his second wife.  He later designated first wife as beneficiary on his life insurance.  After finding two marriage certificates between decedent and his two wives but no marriage dissolution of any kind, pension plan administrator and insurer identified first wife as the beneficiary.  Second wife cross claimed against all parties asserting that she was the proper beneficiary.  First wife cross claimed against second wife asserting her beneficiary status. Mediation continuig.

 

  • Action by former assistant manager alleging that her former employer, a studio and its supervisor, engaged in sex discrimination, harassment and retaliation, and wrongfully terminated her for being a whistleblower.  Employer alleged plaintiff was openly insubordinate and disrespectful to her supervisor, a legitimate reason for her termination. Resolved by mediator’s proposal.

  • Action by pharmacy technician supervisor alleging her former employer, a multinational corporation operating a chain of warehouse clubs, engaged in gender and associational discrimination, and retaliation, failed to prevent discrimination and retaliation from occurring, wrongfully terminated and defamed her, and put her in a false light. Employer alleged former employee’s termination was justified, because she violated the company’s pharmacy security policies and practices.  Resolved in mediation.

 

  • Action by truck driver alleging that his former employer, a waste disposal business, engaged in discrimination, harassment and retaliation because he took periodic protected family leave to care for his fatally ill mother, and because he was associated with a disabled person.  He also alleged that employer failed to engage in the interactive process and reasonable accommodation, and wrongfully terminated him. Employer alleged plaintiff was granted family leave without any discrimination, harassment or retaliation. Instead, plaintiff’s dishonesty and time theft were the legitimate reasons for his termination. Resolved by mediator’s proposal.

 

  • Action by director of nursing alleging that her former employer, a licensed skilled nursing facility, engaged in race discrimination, wrongfully terminated her in violation of public policy, committed wage and hour violations by denying her meal/rest breaks, and payment of final wages and overtime, was negligent, intentionally inflicted emotional distress upon her, and engaged in unfair business practices. The employer alleged that plaintiff was discharged for permitting subordinates excessive overtime, and that she was in an exempt position not entitled to overtime pay or meal/rest breaks.  Resolved by mediator’s proposal.

 

  • Pre-arbitration action by executive alleging that his former employer, a start-up business, discriminated against  and harassed him on the basis of his race, national origin and age, retaliated against him when he complained about various business practices, breached his commission contract, and slandered his professional reputation.  The business alleged the executive was terminated for unsatisfactory performance.  Resolved by mediator’s proposal.

 

  • Action by dishwasher alleging that his former employer, a restaurant, harassed him on the basis of his race and national origin, retaliated against him, failed to take all reasonable steps to prevent harassment, violated various wage and hour statutes as well as PAGA, wrongfully terminated him, engaged in negligent retention and supervision, violated various hate crimes, and committed other torts.  The restaurant alleged the employee engaged in horseplay, elected to leave his job, and failed to exhaust his administrative remedies.  Resolved through mediation, subject to court approval.

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