California Employment Law Update

Category Archives: Sexual 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

Is Arbitration Becoming “Just Somebody That We Used to Know”? — The Beginning of the End of Arbitration

When Congress passed and President Biden signed the Ending Forced Arbitration of Sexual Assault and Sexual Harassment Act (“the Act”) last year, we predicted it was just the beginning of an all-out federal assault on arbitration. We weren’t wrong – so far, there are additional bills pending in Congress to exempt age and race discrimination … 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

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

No Claim By Employee Who Was Friends With Alleged Harasser

Atalla v. Rite Aid Corp., 2023 WL 2521909 (Cal. Ct. App. 2023) Hanin Atalla and Erik Lund had a social relationship and became “close friends” before Atalla began working at Rite Aid where Lund worked as a district manager/district leader. Atalla and her husband socialized with Lund and his wife, and Atalla and Lund exchanged … 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

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

California Court Confirms Kevin Spacey Must Pay $31 Million to House of Cards Producers

The Los Angeles County Superior Court has confirmed an arbitrator’s October 2021 award of $31 million to be paid by actor Kevin Spacey to producers of the Netflix show House of Cards for Spacey’s alleged breach of contract.  As we previously reported, the producers alleged that Spacey was responsible for millions of dollars in costs … 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

January 2021 California Employment Law Notes

We invite you to review our newly-posted January 2021 California Employment Law Notes, a comprehensive review of the latest and most significant developments in California employment law. The highlights include: Bank Employee Who Was Harassed By A Customer Can Proceed With Sexual Harassment Claim Laid-Off Employee Was Not Discriminated Against On The Basis Of Age … Continue Reading

Bank Employee Who Was Harassed By A Customer Can Proceed With Sexual Harassment Claim

Christian v. Umpqua Bank, 2020 WL 7777882 (9th Cir. 2020) Jennifer Christian, a former employee of Umpqua Bank, alleged she was sexually harassed by one of the bank’s customers in violation of Title VII and Washington state law.  Among other things, the customer dropped off “small notes” stating that Christian was the “most beautiful girl … 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

Ashley Judd May Proceed With Sexual Harassment Claim Against Harvey Weinstein

Judd v. Weinstein, 967 F.3d 952 (9th Cir. 2020) Actor Ashley Judd brought this sexual harassment claim against motion picture producer Harvey Weinstein under Cal. Civil Code § 51.9, which prohibits such harassment in the context of a “business, service, or professional relationship” between the plaintiff and a physician, psychotherapist, dentist, attorney, real estate agent, … Continue Reading

Ninth Circuit Revives Ashley Judd’s Sexual Harassment Claim Against Harvey Weinstein

In 2018, actress Ashley Judd (“Judd”) sued producer Harvey Weinstein (“Weinstein”) for sexual harassment, defamation, intentional interference with prospective economic advantage, and unfair competition.  Judd alleges that during a meeting with Weinstein to discuss casting opportunities, she was directed to his hotel room where he appeared in a bathrobe and tried to coerce her into … 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

Racial Discrimination/Sexual Harassment Case Was Properly Dismissed On Summary Judgment

Ducksworth v. Tri-Modal Distrib. Servs., 47 Cal. App. 5th 532 (2020) Bonnie Ducksworth and Pamela Pollock are customer service representatives at Tri-Modal Distribution Services who alleged a failure to promote based upon racial discrimination by two staffing agencies used by Tri-Modal; Pollock also alleged sexual harassment. The trial court granted the staffing agencies’ motion for … Continue Reading

March 2020 California Employment Law Notes

We invite you to review our newly-posted March 2020 California Employment Law Notes, a comprehensive review of the latest and most significant developments in California employment law. The highlights include: Time Spent By Employees In Exit Searches Is Compensable Prior Pay Is Not A Defense To An Equal Pay Act Claim Constructive Termination And Joint … Continue Reading
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