Recent Discrimination Law 2017-12-13T21:46:23+00:00

Recent Discrimination Law

Appeal Dismissed on Contract Preferences Issue.

An appeal of the district court’s judgment in a 42 U.S.C. § 1983 action in which plaintiffs, Associated General Contractors of America, sought injunctive and declaratory relief against the California Department of Transportation (Caltrans). The allegations included that Caltrans’ 2009 Disadvantaged Business Enterprise program unconstitutionally provided race- and sex -based preferences.

The panel held that Plaintiffs did not have standing to sue – that it did not identify any of its members who have suffered or will suffer harm as a result of Caltrans’ affirmative action program. They also held that even with standing, the appeal would fail because the program survived the “strict scrutiny” standard –the program was narrowly tailored to benefit only groups who have faced a history of discrimination in the California transportation contracting industry. Assoc. Gen. Contractors v. Cal. Dept. of Transp. (9th Cir. 11-16228 4/16/13)

Jury rules for Employer in Discrimination case.

Plaintiff appealed a judgment following a jury decision in favor of Defendant employer Caltrans (also known as the State Department of Transportation) and his supervisor in an employment discrimination case.  Plaintiff Kenneth Hatai alleged he was treated differently because of Japanese ancestry and Asian heritage.  Plaintiff sought to prove the claim by showing that his supervisor, who was of Arab descent, discriminated against any employees who were not of Arab descent.  The trial court refused to allow the theory, but allowed Plaintiff Hatai to present evidence of anti-Asian feelings.  The appeals court affirmed the judgment, finding the decision was not a prejudicial error. Hatai v. Department of Transportation. (CA2/Div.3 3/28/13)

Teacher’s Fitness to Teach Receives Ruling

The San Diego Unified School District dismissed a teacher on grounds he had touched a student inappropriately.  A Commission on Professional Competence determined the district had not adequately proven the teacher’s immoral conduct, unfitness to teach, or persistent violation of district rules.  The district petitioned the superior court for a writ of mandate, which vacated the commission’s decision.  The teacher appealed the judgment in the district’s favor, contending substantial evidence did not support the superior court’s finding.  He also said the lower court erred because it did not afford a strong presumption of correctness to the Commission’s determination.  The commission stated that the evidence did not establish that he was unfit.  The appeals court reserved the judgment and remanded the matter to the trial court, stating that it enter a new judgment denying the petition.  San Diego USD v. Com. on Prof. Competence (CA4/1 D059035 3/26/13)

Employee Who Used All Pregnancy Disability Leave May Still Have Case

An employee can still state a cause of action under the California Fair Employment and House Act, even if they’ve exhausted all leave legally available under the Pregnancy Disability Leave Law, (PDLL).  The PDLL was designed to improve upon, rather than displace, the protections under FEHA, the California Court of Appeals ruled February 21, 2013.  Sanchez v. Swissport, Inc. (CA 4. B237761 2/21/13)

Appeal Dismissed on Contract Preferences Issue

An appeal of the district court’s judgment in a 42 U.S.C. § 1983 action in which plaintiffs, Associated General Contractors of America, sought injunctive and declaratory relief against the California Department of Transportation (Caltrans).  The allegations included that Caltrans’ 2009 Disadvantaged Business Enterprise program unconstitutionally provided race- and sex -based preferences.  The panel held that Plaintiffs did not have standing to sue – that it did not identify any of its members who have suffered or will suffer harm as a result of Caltrans’ affirmative action program.  They also held that even with standing, the appeal would fail because the program survived the “strict scrutiny” standard –the program was narrowly tailored to benefit only groups who have faced a history of discrimination in the California transportation contracting industry.  Assoc. Gen. Contractors v. Cal. Dept. of Transp. (9th Cir. 11-16228 4/16/13)

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