Tag Archives: FEHA

Fair Employment Housing Commissions Publishes New National Origin Discrimination Regulations; Limits “English-Only” Rules and Expands Protections for Immigration Status

On May 17, 2018, California’s Fair Employment and Housing Commission (“FEHC”) published the final text of its “Regulations Regarding National Origin Discrimination” (to be codified at 2 Cal. Code Regs. §§ 11027 & 11028). The regulations, which become effective July 1, 2018, expand the definition of “national origin” for purposes of the Fair Employment and … Continue Reading

Employee Who Failed to Provide Additional Doctor Notes to Support New Restrictions May Still Survive Summary Judgment

Last week, in Thomsen v. Georgia-Pacific Corrugated, LLC, a federal district court in California held that an employer might have violated its obligations under California’s Fair Employment and Housing Act (“FEHA”) when it simply told an employee to return to his doctor to obtain a note outlining additional work restrictions.   The Court held that a … Continue Reading

California Court of Appeal Expands FEHA’s Reasonable Accommodation Requirements to Employees Who are Associated with a Person with Disabilities

In Castro-Ramirez v. Dependable Highway Express, Inc., decided April 4, 2016, the California Court of Appeal for the Second Appellate District held California’s Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA) requires employers to provide reasonable accommodations to employees who are associated with a person with disabilities. Plaintiff Luis Castro-Ramirez’s son was in need of a kidney transplant, required … Continue Reading

New California Regulations on Workplace Anti-Harassment, Anti-Discrimination Policies Effective April 1

New California regulations declaring that “[e]mployers have an affirmative duty to create a workplace environment that is free from employment practices prohibited by” the California Fair Employment and Housing Act and that “[e]mployers have an affirmative duty to take reasonable steps to prevent and promptly correct discriminatory and harassing conduct” will go into effect on … Continue Reading

DFEH Issues Guidelines for Protecting Transgender Rights in the Workplace

The California Department of Fair Employment and Housing (“DFEH”) recently issued guidelines on transgender employee rights, addressing what types of questions employers may ask transgender employees and applicants. The guidelines also address how employers can implement dress code and grooming standards, and make suggestions for maintaining employee restrooms. An employee need not have undergone sex … Continue Reading

What California Retail Employers Need to Know About Accommodating Pregnancy

Navigating the California laws on discrimination and accommodation of pregnant employees is a significant challenge for retail employers. The Golden State’s protections for pregnant employees are many and they differ from those of federal law and of other states. Pregnancy Disability Leave Law Under the Pregnancy Disability Leave Law, which applies to employers with at … Continue Reading

Reversing $1 Million Judgment against Los Angeles, the California Court of Appeals Ruled Continuing Violation Doctrine did not apply to Firefighter’s Decades-Old Race Discrimination and Harassment Claims

The California Court of Appeal reversed a $1 million judgment against the City of Los Angeles in a racial discrimination, harassment and retaliation case brought by a firefighter under the California Fair Employment and Housing Act. Jumaane v. City of Los Angeles. After 12 years of litigation and two jury trials, the Court ruled that … Continue Reading

An Employee’s Request for a Disability or Religious Accommodation Is Considered Protected Activity Under Change to the Fair Employment and Housing Act

Effective January 1, 2016, an employee’s request for an accommodation for a disability or for religious reasons is considered to be “protected activity” for a retaliation claim under the Fair Employment and Housing Act (“FEHA”).… Continue Reading

Top 10 Mistakes to Avoid During the Reasonable Accommodation Process

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and California Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA) both require employers to make reasonable accommodations for qualified individuals with disabilities, provided that the accommodations do not impose an “undue hardship” on the employer. By definition, a reasonable accommodation is any modification or adjustment to a job, to an employee’s … Continue Reading

California Legislature Overturns Retaliation Holding in Rope v. Auto-Chlor and Classifies a Mere Request for Accommodation as a “Protected Activity”

On July 16, 2015, AB 987 was signed into law by the Governor Jerry Brown which provides a paradigm shift in favor of employees with respect to their retaliation claims. The new law overturns the retaliation holding in Rope v. Auto-Chlor System of Washington, Inc. (2013) 220 Cal.App.4th 635, and makes it unlawful for an employer … Continue Reading

Court Holds Adjustment Disorder Triggered by Stress at Work Is Not a Disability

A California appellate court recently held that an employee diagnosed with an adjustment disorder triggered by stress caused by her supervisor’s standard oversight of her job performance is not disabled under the California Fair Employment and Housing Act (“FEHA”). Higgins-Williams v. Sutter Medical Foundation, 2015 Cal.App.LEXIS 455 (May 26, 2015). In so doing, the court … Continue Reading

Follow-up on: Be Careful What You Say—It Might End Up in a Declaration to Defeat Summary Judgment

In a recent Ninth Circuit decision, the court held that “a piece of evidence [may not be disregarded] at the summary judgment stage solely based on its self-serving nature.” As a result, declarations created after summary judgment motions are filed may be sufficient to create genuine issues of material fact and, therefore, defeat summary judgment. … Continue Reading

California Supreme Court: California Employers Face New Challenge In Recovering Post-Litigation Costs

On May 4, 2015, the California Supreme Court ruled that a prevailing defendant in a California Fair Employment and Housing Act (“FEHA”) lawsuit can only recover ordinary litigation costs if it demonstrates that the plaintiff’s FEHA claims were frivolous, unreasonable, or groundless.  (Williams v. Chino Valley Ind. Fire Distr. (Cal. Sup. Ct. May 4, 2015), … Continue Reading

No Employer Liability If There is No Actionable Harassment or Discrimination, California Court Rules

An employer cannot be held liable for failure to prevent sexual harassment under the California Fair Employment and Housing Act (“FEHA”) if there is no actionable sexual harassment, the California Court of Appeal has ruled. Dickson v. Burke Williams, Inc., No. B253154 (Cal. Ct. App. Mar. 6, 2015). Likewise, a jury’s finding that an employer … Continue Reading

Removing Essential Job Functions Not Reasonable Disability Accommodation Under California Law, Court Rules

Affirming summary judgment in favor of an employer on an employee’s disability discrimination claims under the California Fair Employment and Housing Act (“FEHA”), the California Court of Appeal has ruled that the employer was not required to eliminate essential functions of a position as a reasonable accommodation. Nealy v. City of Santa Monica, No. B246634 … Continue Reading

Professor’s Refusal to Undergo Fitness-for-Duty Exam Warranted Termination, California Court Rules

A university properly terminated a professor for failing to undergo a fitness-for-duty examination after he had engaged in instances of threatening behavior, the California Court of Appeal has ruled, affirming a judgment in favor of the University of San Francisco on a professor’s alleged disability discrimination claims under the Fair Employment and Housing Act (“FEHA”). … Continue Reading

California Law Protects Unpaid Interns and Volunteers from Harassment and Discrimination

California has become the third state in the country, after New York and Oregon, to ban sexual harassment and discrimination in the workplace directed toward unpaid interns. The new law (AB 1443) extends workplace harassment and discrimination protections under the California Fair Employment and Housing Act (“FEHA”) to unpaid interns, volunteers, and individuals in apprenticeship … Continue Reading

California High Court Rules that Franchisors are Not Liable for Workplace Injuries Inflicted By Franchisees’ Employees

In a recent opinion with important implications for California businesses, the California Supreme Court held that franchisors are not vicariously liable for the conduct of employees managed by its franchisees. In Patterson v. Domino’s Pizza, LLC, et al., the plaintiff, a service employee at a Southern California Domino’s Pizza franchise, alleged that she had been … Continue Reading

Settlement Agreements May Trap the Unwary Employer for Court Costs, California Court Instructs

Ambiguity in settlement agreements can sabotage finality and certainty as a recent California decision shows. Where a settlement agreement is silent regarding litigation costs, an employee may obtain mandatory costs as the prevailing party under state law as the settlement proceeds constituted the required “net monetary recovery,” the California Court of Appeal has ruled. DeSaulles … Continue Reading

Protected Status for Veterans

On October 10, 2013, California Gov. Jerry Brown signed a bill, A.B. 556, to add “military and veteran status” to the list of categories protected from employment discrimination under the California Fair Employment and Housing Act (“FEHA”). When this bill becomes operative on January 1, 2014, the FEHA will prohibit harassment and discrimination in employment … Continue Reading

U.S. Supreme Court narrows definition of “supervisor” for Title VII purposes. Will California courts follow?

In Vance v. Ball State University, No. 11-556 (June 24, 2013), the United States Supreme Court defined “supervisory” authority under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1962 as requiring the power to make “a significant change in employment status, such as hiring, firing, failing to promote, reassignment with significantly different responsibilities, or a … Continue Reading

Discrimination as a Substantial Motivating Factor in Mixed Motive Cases

A positive development for employers. To establish liability in “mixed motive” employment discrimination cases under the California Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA), the employee must show that unlawful discrimination was a substantial factor motivating the adverse employment decision, the California Supreme Court ruled. Harris v. City of Santa Monica, No. S181004 (Cal. Feb. 7, … Continue Reading

California Court Of Appeal Rules Refusal To Cooperate With Company Investigation or Giving False Information To Company Investigator Is Not Protected By FEHA

 A California court of appeal has recently ruled that an employee is not protected by the Fair Employment and Housing Act (“FEHA”) for refusing to participate in or cooperate with a Company investigation into misconduct. McGrory v. Applied Signal Tech., Inc., (Cal Ct. App. No. H036597, 1/24/2013). In McGrory, California’s Sixth Appellate District rejected an … Continue Reading
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