• Dean Royer

April and May 2021 employment law decisions

Claims for intentional infliction of emotional distress and Unruh Act discrimination based on third party offensive comments in presentation to employer.

May 12, 2021, Fourth Appellate District, Robert Smith v. BP Lubricants USA Inc.: Smith sued BP and one of its employees after the employee made several comments during a presentation at Smith’s former employer, Jiffy Lube, that Smith considered racist and offensive. The trial court dismissed the case (demurrer). On appeal, the Fourth District affirmed the dismissal of Smith’s harassment claim, which was based on an aiding and abetting theory. The appellate court decided that Smith did not and could not allege that the defendants knew of Jiffy Lube’s alleged harassment against Smith, or that defendants knew the conduct was unlawful or gave Jiffy Lube assistance or encouragement. But the Fourth District reversed with respect to Smith’s intentional infliction of emotional distress claim after finding that the BP employee’s alleged conduct of making three offensive comments in front of an audience of 50 could be found to be extreme and outrageous. The appellate court also reversed with respect to Smith’s discrimination claim under the Unruh Act after deciding that the Act covers claims based on verbal harassment and that the BP employee acted as a business establishment when he made his alleged comments.


Case alleging adverse actions of reassignment and termination is not subject to SLAPP law.

April 29, 2021, Second Appellate District, Junnie Verceles v. Los Angeles Unified School District: The trial court dismissed Verceles’s case (SLAPP motion) after finding his employment discrimination and retaliation claims were based on the District’s investigation of his alleged misconduct. The court of appeal reversed on grounds Vereceles’s case was based on the District’s decisions to reassign him and terminate him.

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April 2021 employment law decisions

University of California is not subject to California’s minimum wage law. April 23, 2021, Fourth Appellate District, Guivini Gomez v. The Regents of the University of California: Gomez sued her former

March 2021 employment law decisions

Jury findings in a first trial do not have preclusive effect on a retrial. March 18, 2021, Fourth Appellate District, Contreras-Velazquez v. Family Health Centers of San Diego, Inc.: Contreras-Velazqu

February 2021 employment law decisions

No rounding of hours worked for determining premium wages for meal period violations. February 25, 2021, Supreme Court of California, Donahue v. AMN Services, LLC: The Supreme Court of California addr