California Employment Law Update

Category Archives: Harassment

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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

Once Again, Employer Loses Right To Arbitrate By Failing To Timely Pay Arbitration Fees

Doe v. Superior Court, 95 Cal. App. 5th 346 (2023) An anonymous employee sued her former employer and former manager, alleging multiple instances of sexual harassment and assault. The former employer successfully compelled the case to arbitration. The deadline for the employer to pay the arbitration fees pursuant to Cal. Code Civ. Proc. § 1281.98(a)(1) … Continue Reading

Disability Discrimination Claim Was Properly Dismissed On Summary Judgment

Martin v. Board of Trustees of the Cal. State Univ., 2023 WL 7537694 (Cal. Ct. App. 2023) Following the termination of his employment as director of university communications at CSUN’s Marketing and Communications Department, Jorge Martin sued the university for race, gender and sexual orientation harassment and discrimination because he is a “middle-aged, light-skinned Mexican-American, … Continue Reading

In a Surprise Move, California Enacts Boatload of New Pro-Employer Laws – Nah, Just Kidding, It’s Going to be More Burdensome than Ever!

In what has become an annual tradition, California – that fabled workers’ paradise on earth – has enacted a slew of new laws that, come January, may keep even the most hearty HR professionals up at night. As we reported earlier this year (here), the California Chamber of Commerce initially identified 11 “Job Killer Bills” … Continue Reading

Court Recognizes “Music As Harassment” While Rejecting “Equal Opportunity Harasser” Defense

Sharp v. S&S Activewear, LLC, 69 F.4th 974 (9th Cir. 2023) Fed up with hearing “very offensive” songs like Eminem’s “Stan” and Too $hort’s “B*job Betty” on the job, Stephanie Sharp and several other employees (including one male) filed a hostile work environment claim against their employer under Title VII.  Plaintiffs claimed they could not escape … Continue Reading

The “Real Slim Shady’s” Days May Be Numbered (At Least in the Workplace)!

Fed up with hearing “very offensive” songs like Eminem’s “Stan” and Too $hort’s “B*job Betty” on the job, Stephanie Sharp and several other employees (including a male) filed a hostile work environment claim under Title VII against their employer.  Plaintiffs claimed they could not escape the music because it was “[b]lasted from commercial-strength speakers” that … Continue Reading

Bloomberg Law Podcast: Jury Slashes $137 Million Verdict in Tesla Racial Harassment Case

Labor Co-Chair Tony Oncidi joins Bloomberg Law podcast host June Grasso to discuss the roller coaster verdicts in a Tesla racial harassment case. We covered the original $137 million verdict here, and again here, which was recently reduced by a San Francisco jury to $3.175 million. We invite you to listen to Tony’s interview with Bloomberg Law here … Continue Reading

$137 Million Racial Harassment Verdict Against Tesla Slashed by New Jury!

An astronomical $137 million jury verdict against Tesla has again been reduced, for a second (and potentially final) time. Last Monday, following a five-day trial on damages, a federal court jury awarded Owen Diaz, a former Tesla elevator operator, $175,000 in emotional distress damages and $3 million in punitive damages, totaling nearly $3.2 million—almost $134 … Continue Reading

March 2023 California Employment Law Notes

We invite you to review our newly-posted March 2023 California Employment Law Notes, a comprehensive review of the latest and most significant developments in California employment law. The highlights include: No Claim By Employee Who Was Friends With Alleged Harasser Pregnancy Discrimination Lawsuit Was Properly Dismissed Employer That Failed To Layoff Employee Before She Became … Continue Reading

Pregnancy Discrimination Lawsuit Was Properly Dismissed

Lopez v. La Casa de Las Madres, 2023 WL 2534998 (Cal. Ct. App. 2023) Gabriela Lopez worked as shelter manager for a non-profit organization that provides services to women and children who are victims of domestic violence. In September 2016, Lopez gave birth to a child; by December 17, 2016, Lopez had received the full … Continue Reading

No Sexual Harassment Claim Between Friends

Under California’s Fair Employment and Housing Act (“FEHA”), employers generally are strictly liable for a supervisor’s harassment, even where the employer is unaware of the supervisor’s alleged bad actions.  While this left many employers without much recourse in the event supervisors misbehaved, a recently published Court of Appeal decision offers some hope.  In Atalla v. … Continue Reading

California Mandatory Postings and Pamphlets – What’s New for 2023

California employers are required to post several notices and distribute various pamphlets informing employees of their employment rights.  Effective January 1, 2023, eight (8) out of eighteen (18) of these required notices will be updated.  The eight (8) notices that will be updated are the following: 1. California Minimum Wage; 2. Family Care and Medical … Continue Reading

November 2022 California Employment Law Notes

We invite you to review our newly-posted November 2022 California Employment Law Notes, a comprehensive review of the latest and most significant developments in California employment law. The highlights include: Equal Pay Act Claim Should Not Have Been Dismissed Whistleblower Claim Should Not Have Been Dismissed In Part School District Employee May Have Been Discriminated … Continue Reading

Equal Pay Act Claim Should Not Have Been Dismissed

Allen v. Staples, Inc., 84 Cal. App. 5th 188 (2022) Joyce Allen worked at Staples as a field sales director (FSD) reporting to area sales vice president Bruce Trahey; FSD Charles R. Narlock also reported to Trahey.  As part of a corporate reorganization in February 2019, Trahey informed Allen and several other FSDs of his … Continue Reading

Judge Reduces $137 Million Race Harassment Verdict Against Tesla to $15 Million

A federal court judge pared down last year’s jaw-dropping $137 million damages award against Tesla in a racial bias lawsuit.  As covered previously here, a San Francisco federal court jury awarded $6.9 million in emotional distress damages and $130 million in punitive damages to a Black former elevator operator who worked at Tesla’s Fremont facility … Continue Reading

House Passes Bill Barring “Mandatory Arbitration” in Sexual Assault and Harassment Cases

On February 7, 2022, in a 335-97 vote, the U.S. House of Representatives passed a bipartisan bill (“Ending Forced Arbitration of Sexual Assault and Sexual Harassment Act”), which would prohibit “mandatory arbitration” in sexual assault and harassment cases arising or accruing on or after the date of enactment.  This bill also invalidates joint, class, or … Continue Reading

January 2022 California Employment Law Notes

We invite you to review our newly-posted January 2022 California Employment Law Notes, a comprehensive review of the latest and most significant developments in California employment law. The highlights include: Manicurist Can Proceed With Hostile Work Environment Claim “Volunteers for Nonprofits Are Not Employees” – Court Affirms Order In Favor Of The American Film Institute … Continue Reading

House of Cards: What Employers Can Learn From Kevin Spacey’s Alleged Missteps

Kevin Spacey’s legal troubles have taken a costly turn as the production companies behind Netflix’s House of Cards recently asked a California court to confirm an arbitration award of almost $31 million against Spacey for breach of contract. In 2017, eight House of Cards crew members came forward to accuse Spacey of sexual harassment and … Continue Reading

Is the Customer Always Right? How Employers Should Respond to Patron Misconduct

As anyone who has worked in a customer-facing job can tell you, dealing with difficult customers often comes with the territory. However, when customer behavior crosses a line into illegal conduct like sexual harassment, both the customer and the employer may find themselves in hot water. Wynn Las Vegas, a Nevada hotel, learned the hard … Continue Reading

San Francisco Jury Hits Tesla with $137 Million Race Harassment Verdict

On Monday afternoon, a San Francisco federal court jury awarded $137 million to a Black former elevator operator who worked at Tesla’s Fremont facility for approximately one year before quitting his employment in 2016. After just four hours of deliberation, the jury awarded Owen Diaz $6.9 million in emotional distress damages and $130 million in punitive … Continue Reading

July 2021 California Employment Law Notes

We invite you to review our newly-posted July 2021 California Employment Law Notes, a comprehensive review of the latest and most significant developments in California employment law. The highlights include: Board of Directors Quota Law May Be Unconstitutional 2:1 Ratio of Punitive to Compensatory Damages Was Appropriate High School Football Coach’s Title VII Claim Was … Continue Reading

May 2020 California Employment Law Notes

We invite you to review our newly-posted May 2020 California Employment Law Notes, a comprehensive review of the latest and most significant developments in California employment law. The highlights include: Court Reverses $13 Million Gender Discrimination Verdict Entered Against UCLA Court Affirms $2.9 Million Verdict Against Employer That Failed To Obtain Green Card For Employee … Continue Reading
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