California Employment Law Update

Category Archives: Defamation

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November 2023 California Employment Law Notes

We invite you to review our newly-posted November 2023 California Employment Law Notes, a comprehensive review of the latest and most significant developments in California employment law. The highlights include: Company That Hired Competitor’s Employee Was Not Entitled To Arbitrate Claims Disability Discrimination Claim Was Properly Dismissed On Summary Judgment Employee’s Attorney’s “Pervasive Incivility” Justified … Continue Reading

Lawyer-Investigators Recover Attorneys’ Fees Following Successful Anti-SLAPP Motion

Ross v. Seyfarth Shaw LLP, 96 Cal. App. 5th 722 (2023) Plaintiff Natalie Operstein was a professor of linguistics at California State University, Fullerton, and plaintiff Craig Ross is her husband. In 2014, the university hired a law firm to investigate multiple accusations Operstein raised to her superiors about three of Operstein’s colleagues. Defendant Colleen Regan, … Continue Reading

January 2023 California Employment Law Notes

We invite you to review our newly-posted January 2023 California Employment Law Notes, a comprehensive review of the latest and most significant developments in California employment law. The highlights include: Age/National Origin Case Was Properly Dismissed Despite “Direct Evidence” Of Discriminatory Animus Family Court May Order Employer To Provide Determination Of Arrearages Owed In Spousal … Continue Reading

Former Teacher’s Defamation Suit Was Properly Dismissed Under Anti-SLAPP Statute

Bishop v. The Bishop’s School, 86 Cal. App. 5th 893 (2022) Chad Bishop was a teacher at The Bishop’s School for 16 years. In March 2019, Bishop entered into a contract as an English teacher for the 2019-20 academic year. In September 2019, Bishop and Kendall Forte, a 19-year-old former student of the School who … Continue Reading

November 2020 California Employment Law Notes

We invite you to review our newly-posted November 2020 California Employment Law Notes, a comprehensive review of the latest and most significant developments in California employment law. The highlights include: Court Affirms $4.26 Million Jury Award For “Self-Published Defamation” Court Affirms Dismissal Of Trade Secrets Claim Brought Against Apple Employer Gets No Relief From $1.6 … Continue Reading

Court Affirms $4.26 Million Jury Award For “Self-Published Defamation”

Tilkey v. Allstate Ins. Co., 2020 WL 6268474 (Cal. Ct. App. 2020) Allstate terminated Michael Tilkey, a 30-year employee who sold life insurance, after Tilkey’s arrest in Arizona following a domestic dispute with his girlfriend; he was arrested for “criminal damage deface, possession or use of drug paraphernalia and disorderly conduct, disruptive behavior.”  Domestic violence … Continue Reading

September 2020 California Employment Law Notes

We invite you to review our newly-posted September 2020 California Employment Law Notes, a comprehensive review of the latest and most significant developments in California employment law. The highlights include: Employee Entitled To $17.2 Million For Wrongful Termination/Defamation “Continuing Violation” Theory Saves Employee’s Sexual Harassment Claim Tortious Interference With At-Will Contract Requires Independently Wrongful Act … Continue Reading

Employee Entitled To $17.2 Million For Wrongful Termination/Defamation

King v. U.S. Bank Nat’l Ass’n, 52 Cal. App. 5th 728 (2020) Timothy King sued his former employer for defamation, wrongful termination in violation of public policy, and breach of the implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing after he was terminated following an investigation into claims of gender discrimination and harassment that were … Continue Reading

January 2020 California Employment Law Notes

We invite you to review our newly-posted January 2020 California Employment Law Notes, a comprehensive review of the latest and most significant developments in California employment law. The highlights include: Church Affiliate Is Exempt From FEHA Liability, But Liable for $1.9 Million On Other Theories Disability Discrimination, Harassment and Retaliation Claims Were Properly Dismissed Employer That … Continue Reading

Defamation and Wrongful Termination Claims Against the Los Angeles Times Were Properly Dismissed

Rall v. Tribune 365, LLC, 2019 WL 6887261 (Cal. Ct. App. 2019) Frederick Theodore Rall III, a political cartoonist and blogger, sued the Los Angeles Times after it published a “note to readers” and (later) a more detailed report questioning the accuracy of a blog post that Rall wrote for the Times. Rall then sued … Continue Reading

LA Times Wins Lawsuit Against Former Freelancer

The California Court of Appeal affirmed dismissal of a former freelancer’s defamation and employment-related claims against the Times. Frederick Theodore Rall III, a political cartoonist and blogger for the paper, brought claims for defamation, wrongful termination, intentional infliction of emotion distress, and retaliation, among others, stemming from the Times’ decision to disassociate itself with Rall … Continue Reading

Another Gargantuan California Verdict… This Time for $18.6 Million

A San Diego jury awarded that amount to a former employee who claimed he was wrongfully terminated based on his arrest record and then defamed. Michael Tilkey worked for Allstate Insurance for 30 years and was fired from his job as a field sales leader after he admitted to Allstate that he was arrested for domestic violence … Continue Reading

New California Statute Shields Victims/Employers from Defamation Claims

California Governor Jerry Brown has signed Assembly Bill 2770 (Assembly Member Irwin; D-Thousand Oaks), an act to amend Section 47 of the Civil Code.  The bill should protect both sexual harassment victims and employers against defamation claims from alleged harassers. The bill was sponsored by the California Chamber of Commerce and passed the Legislature with unanimous, bipartisan … Continue Reading

Jobseeker Website May Be Compelled To Disclose Identity Of Anonymous Posters Who Criticized Employer

 ZL Technologies, Inc. v. Does 1-7, 13 Cal. App. 5th 603 (2017) ZL Technologies brought suit, alleging libel per se and online impersonation, against seven anonymous individuals who represented themselves as current or former ZL employees and who posted critical reviews of ZL’s management and work environment on Glassdoor (a website where workers can post … Continue Reading

Former CEO’s Defamation Action Was Properly Dismissed With Anti-SLAPP Motion

Charney v. Standard General, LP, 10 Cal. App. 5th 149 (2017) Dov Charney, the former president and CEO of American Apparel, Inc., was terminated following an investigation into allegations that he had engaged in various types of misconduct. Following Charney’s departure, Standard General effectively took over American Apparel through its control of company stock and … Continue Reading

Workplace Violence Injunction Was Improperly Entered Against Out-Of-State Resident

ViaView, Inc. v. Retzlaff, 2016 WL 3626708 (Cal. Ct. App. 2016) ViaView filed a petition for a workplace violence restraining order against Thomas Retzlaff, a resident of Texas, who had filed a motion to quash the petition for lack of personal jurisdiction. The trial court denied the motion to quash and granted a permanent injunction … Continue Reading

Employee’s Threat To File False Criminal Complaint Against Former Employer Was Extortion

Stenehjem v. Sareen, 2014 WL 2646729 (Cal. Ct. App. 2014) Jerome Stenehjem sued his former employer and its president and CEO, Surya Sareen, for defamation, among other things. In response, Sareen filed a cross-complaint for civil extortion, alleging, among other things, that while representing himself, Stenehjem made a written threat by email to file a … Continue Reading

Employee’s Wrongful Termination And Defamation Claims Were Properly Dismissed

McGrory v. Applied Signal Tech., 212 Cal. App. 4th 1510 (2013) 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 resources made to another employee about why McGrory had been terminated. … Continue Reading

Sexual Assault Victim’s Motion To Strike Supervisor’s Defamation Claim Was Properly Granted

Aber v. Comstock, 212 Cal. App. 4th 931 (2013) Lisa Aber sued her employer and two co-employees (Michael Comstock, Aber’s supervisor, and James Cioppa) for sexual harassment and sexual battery, among other things. Comstock filed a cross-complaint against Aber in which he alleged defamation and intentional infliction of emotional distress. In response to Comstock’s cross-complaint, … Continue Reading

Sexual Harassment Complaints Are Subject To Anti-SLAPP Motions To Strike

Aber v. Comstock, 2012 WL 6863235 (Cal. Ct. App. Dec. 18, 2012) Plaintiff Lisa Aber sued her employer and two of its employees, alleging that the employees had sexually assaulted her.  Michael Comstock, one of the employee defendants, filed a cross-complaint against Aber, alleging claims for defamation and intentional infliction of emotional distress.  Comstock alleged … Continue Reading

$160,000 Sexual Harassment Verdict And Attorney’s Fee Award Of $677,000 Affirmed

Fuentes v. AutoZone, Inc., 200 Cal. App. 4th 1221 (2011) Marcela Fuentes worked as a part-time customer service representative (cashier) for AutoZone. Fuentes alleged that two managers (Melvin Garcia and Gonzalo Carrillo) had spread rumors that Fuentes had sexually transmitted herpes; that she and a coworker were engaged in a sexual relationship; and that she … Continue Reading

Employee’s Lawyer Should Not Be Present During Client’s Psych Exam

Toyota v. Superior Court, 189 Cal. App. 4th 1391 (2010) Steven Braun sued Toyota Motor Sales and his supervisor Randall Bauer for gender discrimination, sexual harassment, defamation, constructive discharge and intentional and negligent infliction of emotional distress. Toyota and Bauer filed a motion to compel Braun to submit to an independent psychiatric examination, which the … Continue Reading

Employer Could Proceed With Defamation And Interference Claims Against Employees Who Protested Their Termination

Overhill Farms, Inc. v. Lopez, 190 Cal. App. 4th 1248 (2010) After the IRS notified Overhill Farms that 231 of its then-current employees had provided invalid social security numbers, Overhill contacted the employees identified by the IRS, advised them that their social security numbers were invalid according to the IRS, and provided them with the … Continue Reading
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