Cases & Deals

Chevron summary judgment win affirmed by California Court of Appeal in California FEHA age discrimination case

Client(s) Chevron Corporation

The California Court of Appeal affirmed the summary judgment ruling won by Jones Day on behalf of Chevron Products Company and Chevron Corporation in an age discrimination case brought by a former contractor of Chevron. Plaintiff alleged that, among other things, Chevron refused to hire her because of her age. She supported this claim based upon her belief that she was the best qualified candidate for the permanent position and that Chevron ultimately hired two younger, lesser qualified candidates.

On October 7, 2016, Judge Frederick C. Shaller of the Los Angeles Superior Court granted summary judgment. He held that the former contractor had a documented history of behavior problems which provided a legitimate non-discriminatory criteria the company could consider. More significantly, the undisputed facts demonstrated that based upon these performance problems, Plaintiff was properly ranked lower than the successful candidates. Plaintiff unsuccessfully attempted to establish pretext, arguing that because of her own beliefs of her qualifications for the position, and the fact that the successful candidates were younger, she was discriminated against because of her age. However, Judge Shaller held that her argument was "not based on anything other than pure inadmissible speculation," failed to establish pretext, and therefore entered judgment in favor of Chevron.

On August 16, 2017, the Second Appellate Division of the California Court of Appeal affirmed Judge Shaller's holding, finding that plaintiff failed to establish a prima facie case as to one position, and failed to establish pretext as to the other as all she was able to advance was her own self assessment of her qualifications and "an elaborate chain of speculation."

Ford v. Chevron Corp., Case No. BC278989 (Cal. App. 2d Dist.); Ford v. Chevron Corp., Case No. BC598764 (Super. Ct. Los Angeles Cty., Cal.)