Applied Medical Resources secures appellate victory on FEHA retaliation claim by former employee after obtaining favorable jury verdict following trial
Clients Applied Medical Resources Corporation
Jones Day successfully defended Applied Medical Resources Corporation against a lawsuit brought by a former employee who asserted claims for violation of the Fair Employment and Housing Act, including disability discrimination, failure to accommodate, failure to engage in the interactive process, failure to prevent discrimination, retaliation, and wrongful discharge in violation of public policy. The trial court granted nonsuit on one of those claims, Plaintiff’s retaliation claim, and Applied Medical Resources obtained a jury verdict in its favor on all remaining claims after a 15-day jury trial spanning five calendar weeks. Plaintiff thereafter appealed the trial court’s judgment of nonsuit on his retaliation claim.
The Court of Appeal for the State of California affirmed the trial court's order granting the motion for nonsuit. In doing so, it became the first court to address the application of a 2016 amendment to Government Code section 12940 where the operative facts straddle the effective date of the amendment. The Court clarified that the amendment, which added subdivision (m)(2) and prohibits an employer from retaliating or discriminating against an individual for requesting accommodation under the subdivision, does not apply retroactively. As such, Plaintiff did not engage in protected activity by requesting accommodation prior to the amendment’s effective date. The Court further held that Plaintiff could not rely on the fact that he was discharged after the amendment took effect to sustain his claim. Accordingly, the appellate court affirmed the trial court’s decision, ruled that Plaintiff had suffered no prejudice, and ordered that Applied Medical Resources recover costs on appeal.
Gierut v. Applied Medical Resources Corporation, No. 30-2018-00964562-CU-OE-CJC (Cal. Super. Ct.); No. G057922 (Cal. App.)