California Employment Law Update

Tag Archives: Title VII

Fire Chief Was Terminated For Misconduct Not Because Of His Religion

Hittle v. City of Stockton, 76 F.4th 877 (9th Cir. 2023) Ronald Hittle served as the City’s Fire Chief before he was fired (following an investigation by an outside investigator) because he lacked effectiveness and judgment in his ongoing leadership of the Fire Department; used City time and a City vehicle to attend a religious … Continue Reading

Employer Must Prove “Substantial Increased Costs” Would Result From Religious Accommodation

Groff v. DeJoy, 600 U.S. ___, 143 S. Ct. 2279 (2023) Gerald Groff, an Evangelical Christian, took a mail delivery job with the USPS at a time when postal service employees were was not required to work on Sundays.  However, when the USPS began facilitating Sunday deliveries for Amazon, he was called upon to work … Continue Reading

September 2023 California Employment Law Notes

We invite you to review our newly-posted September 2023 California Employment Law Notes, a comprehensive review of the latest and most significant developments in California employment law. The highlights include: Employers Owe No Duty Of Care To Prevent The Spread Of COVID To Employees’ Household Members School District Employer Did Not Violate The Law By Requiring … Continue Reading

July 2023 California Employment Law Notes

We invite you to review our newly-posted July 2023 California Employment Law Notes, a comprehensive review of the latest and most significant developments in California employment law. The highlights include: Enforcement of PAGA Carve Out Suggests Need For New Revisions To Arbitration Agreements PAGA Debt Not Dischargeable in Bankruptcy Distributors Not Liable For Unpaid Wages Of … 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

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

May 2019 California Employment Law Notes

We invite you to review our newly-posted May 2019 California Employment Law Notes, a comprehensive review of the latest and most significant developments in California employment law. The highlights include: Strict Independent Contractor Test Applies Retroactively; California Employee Is Compelled To Litigate His Employment Claims In Indiana; Employee Could Rely Upon Former Supervisor’s Statement About Existence Of Discrimination; … Continue Reading

Department of Corrections Did Not Discriminate Against Male Applicants By Hiring Female Guards In Women’s Prisons (Orange Really Is The New Black!)

Teamsters Local Union No. 117 v. Washington Dep’t of Corrections, 2015 WL 3634711 (9th Cir. 2015) In the face of repeated instances of sexual abuse and misconduct by prison guards in its women’s prisons, the state of Washington determined that a primary driver was the lack of female correctional officers to oversee female offenders and … Continue Reading

House Passes Appropriation Bill That Limits EEOC’s Implementation of Stringent Enforcement Guidelines Regarding Criminal Screening Policies

 The EEOC’s recent enforcement guidance regarding employers’ use of criminal histories in employment decisions (the “Guidance”) appears to have one more foe: the U.S. House of Representatives. On May 10, 2012, the House passed an appropriation bill that would prohibit the use of EEOC funds for implementing, administering, or enforcing the Guidance. This prohibition echoes … Continue Reading

Ministerial Exception Barred School Employee’s Wrongful Termination Claims Against Church

Henry v. Red Hill Evangelical Lutheran Church, 201 Cal. App. 4th 1041 (2011) Sara Henry taught preschool children at the Red Hill Evangelical Church of Tustin; she was also the director of the preschool. Henry, who is Catholic, was not required to be Lutheran (only a practicing Christian) and was aware of the “Christian-based, Bible-based … Continue Reading

Section 1981 Claim Is Subject to Four-Year Statute of Limitations

Johnson v. Lucent Techs. Inc., 653 F.3d 1000 (2011) In 2008, Russell H. Johnson, III, an African-American, sued Lucent and the administrator of his disability insurance benefits for retaliation in violation of Title VII, violation of 42 U.S.C. § 1981 and intentional infliction of emotional distress in retaliation for his filing suit against Lucent in … Continue Reading

Supreme Court Tightens Class Action Rules, Rejecting Class Composed of 1.5 Million Wal-Mart Employees

In Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. v. Dukes, No. 10-277 (U.S. June 20, 2011), the Supreme Court vacated class certification of a gender discrimination lawsuit brought by 1.5 million current and former Wal-Mart employees because the plaintiffs failed to identify a specific, company-wide policy or practice of discrimination. Additionally, the Court held unanimously that the employees’ backpay claims … Continue Reading

Gay Employee Could Proceed With Retaliation But Not Harassment Claim Under Title VII

Dawson v. Entek Int’l, 630 F.3d 928 (9th Cir. 2011) Shane Dawson, a former temporary production line worker for Entek, ran a production line that rolled up battery separators. Dawson, who is gay, worked with 24 other male employees. Dawson’s employment was terminated two days after he had complained to human resources that he was … Continue Reading

Harmony at the High Court: Supremes Issue Unanimous Decisions on Government Background Checks, Third-Party Retaliation

The U.S. Supreme Court handed down two important employment law decisions in January, embarking upon a year that includes a host of notable cases that onlookers anticipate could bring about significant changes and clarifications in labor and employment law.… Continue Reading

Fire Dep’t Applicants’ Title VII Challenge Was Not Barred By Statute Of Limitations

 Lewis v. City of Chicago, 560 U.S. ___, 130 S. Ct. 2191 (2010) Plaintiffs in this case (more than 6,000 African-Americans) had applied to serve in the Chicago Fire Department. They challenged as discriminatory the city’s decision to hire only applicants who had scored 89 or above on a written examination. The city stipulated that … Continue Reading

College Professor’s Racially Charged E-Mails Did Not Create Hostile Environment

Rodriguez v. Maricopa County Cmty. Coll., 605 F.3d 703 (9th Cir. 2010) Professor Walter Kehowski sent three racially-charged emails over a distribution list maintained by the college district where he teaches math. Every district employee with an email address received Kehowski’s messages, including plaintiffs in this case – a certified class of the district’s Hispanic … Continue Reading

City Violated Title VII By Discarding Results Of Test That Disparately Impacted Minorities

Ricci v. DeStefano, 557 U.S. 557, 129 S.Ct. 2658 (2009) One hundred eighteen firefighters took written examinations administered by the city of New Haven, Connecticut in order to qualify for promotion to the rank of lieutenant or captain. When the examination results showed that white candidates had outperformed minority candidates, the mayor and other local … Continue Reading

City Violated Title VII By Discarding Results Of Test That Disparately Impacted Minorities

Ricci v. DeStefano, 557 U.S. ___, 129 S. Ct. 2658 (2009) One hundred eighteen firefighters took written examinations administered by the city of New Haven, Connecticut in order to qualify for promotion to the rank of lieutenant or captain. When the examination results showed that white candidates had outperformed minority candidates, the mayor and other … Continue Reading

Employee Who Was Interviewed During Internal Investigation Was Protected From Retaliation

Crawford v. Metropolitan Gov’t of Nashville & Davidson County, 555 U.S. 271 (2009) Vicky Crawford was interviewed during the course of an investigation into “rumors of sexual harassment” involving the Metro School District’s employee relations director, Gene Hughes. Crawford described several instances of sexually harassing behavior that Hughes allegedly directed at her; two other employees … Continue Reading

UPS May Not Have Violated The ADA By Excluding Deaf Drivers Who Failed To Satisfy DOT Hearing Standard

Bates v. United Parcel Serv., 511 F.3d 974 (9th Cir. 2007) (en banc) One of the requirements applied by UPS to those applicants seeking to drive the familiar brown “package cars” was that they pass the physical examination (including a hearing exam) that the DOT requires of drivers of commercial vehicles of a gross vehicle weight … Continue Reading

Rejected Applicant’s ADA And Title VII Claims Were Properly Dismissed

Nilsson v. City of Mesa, 503 F.3d 947 (9th Cir. 2007) Christine Nilsson applied for a position as a police officer with the City of Mesa, Arizona. In conjunction with her application, Nilsson signed a waiver of any and all claims against the police department. During the application process, Nilsson disclosed that she had been involved … Continue Reading
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