Plaintiff, an employee of the District since 1973, alleged that she was first demoted from her position of Dean of Enrollment Services, Development and Special Programs, and then reassigned from her administrative position to a lower-level counselor’s job in retaliation for disclosing what she believed to be violations of law by the District. Following a jury trial, the jury found against plaintiff. However, plaintiff appealed the judgment and won. The Court of Appeal reversed the judgment and ordered that a new trial be held after concluding that the trial judge had given three erroneous jury instructions, including that “information passed along to a supervisor in the normal course of duties is not a protected disclosure.” The Court of Appeal also found error in the trial judge’s admission of evidence of plaintiff’s retirement eligibility and income with respect to the issue of mitigation of damages. The case settled following plaintiff’s successful appeal.
Plaintiffs had been employed by Baker Pacific on various asbestos removal projects. Baker Pacific entered into a contract with Metropolitan Life Insurance Company for the removal of asbestos from a MetLife office building. As an express condition precedent to awarding the contract to Baker, MetLife required Baker’s employees to read and sign a written Certificate of Workers’ Release form that released MetLife from any liability for harm caused to the workers by asbestos. Plaintiffs refused to sign the release form claiming that the release violated California and federal public policy. MetLife would not permit Baker to employ plaintiffs for work in its building. Plaintiffs filed a lawsuit against Baker and MetLife alleging wrongful termination. In a separate action filed by Baker Pacific to have the release declared valid, the Court of Appeal held that the terms of the release violated Civil Code §1668 and that the release was void as against public policy. Plaintiffs then settled their wrongful termination action for a confidential amount.
Plaintiffs, African-Americans and experienced airline pilots, applied for pilot positions with USAir. Plaintiff Taylor was never granted an interview, although he was qualified for the position and lesser qualified white applicants were interviewed and hired. Plaintiff Garland, although the most qualified applicant in his interview group and among the top applicants, was not hired by USAir until almost 3.5 years after he had applied. The court found that USAir had illegally discriminated against plaintiffs on the basis of their race and that USAir’s operation of a hiring channel which granted special preference to white applicants with relatives employed by USAir or with “influential references” had an adverse disparate impact on blacks. Plaintiffs settled with USAir and the Airline Pilots’ Association following the court’s findings and before the motion for plaintiffs’ attorney’s fees for a substantial 7-figure sum and the injunctive relief of seniority adjustment.