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Procedural Posture

By: SMITH THOMPSON

Procedural-Posture

Plaintiff employee sought review of the judgment of the Superior Court of Los Angeles County (California), which granted summary judgment to defendant employer in plaintiff’s suit for sexual harassment in violation of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, 42 U.S.C.S. §2000a et seq., and the Fair Employment and Housing Act, Cal. Gov’t Code § 12900 et seq., wrongful termination in violation of public policy, and breach of the employment contract.

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Overview

Plaintiff employee brought suit against defendant employer for sexual harassment in violation of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, 42 U.S.C.S. § 2000a et seq., and the Fair Employment and Housing Act, Cal. Gov’t Code § 12900 et seq., wrongful termination, and breach of the employment contract. The trial court granted defendant’s motion for summary judgment and plaintiff appealed. The court reversed, as the trial court erred in granting summary judgment on the ground that the after-acquired-evidence doctrine barred plaintiff’s discrimination or tort claims. The court found that plaintiff misrepresented her status as a resident alien entitled to work in the country, and the unclean hands doctrine barred plaintiff’s wrongful discharge claims, but no sound reason existed for either the after-acquired-evidence doctrine or the unclean hands doctrine to bar plaintiff’s discrimination or tort claims. The court concluded that plaintiff alleged facts that, if proved, could establish that defendant ratified plaintiff’s supervisor’s tortious conduct, which would permit plaintiff could hold defendant liable for that conduct.

Outcome

The judgment of the trial court that granted summary judgment to appellee employer in plaintiff’s employee’s suit for sexual harassment was reversed, as neither the after-acquired-evidence doctrine nor the unclean hands doctrine barred plaintiff’s discrimination or tort claims, and defendant could be held liable, if plaintiff proved that it ratified her supervisor’s tortious conduct.

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