Sanchez v. Swissport, Inc.: Pregnant Employee Who Was Fired After Exhausting Pregnancy Disability Leave Stated A Claim For FEHA Employment Discrimination


by Sayema Hameed

What happens when a pregnant employee who exhausts all of her vacation time and pregnancy disability leave cannot return to work because she is disabled by a high risk pregnancy?  In the case of Ana G. Fuentes Sanchez, she was fired by her employer, Swissport, Inc., due to her failure to return to work.

Ms. Fuentes Sanchez filed suit against Swissport, alleging pregnancy discrimination under California’s Fair Employment and Housing Act (“FEHA”), Government Code Section 12900 et seq.  The trial court concluded that she failed to state a claim under FEHA because her employer had given her the maximum leave allowed under the Pregnancy Disability Leave Law, Government Code Section 12945.  The Court of Appeal, however, reversed the trial court, concluding that the plaintiff sufficiently stated a cause of action under FEHA for employment discrimination.  Sanchez v. Swissport, Inc. (filed February 21, 2013, Second District, Div. Four, Case No. B237761).

Touchstone Television Productions v. Superior Court: Touchstone’s Decision Not To Renew Nicollette Sheridan’s Employment Contract Does Not Give Rise To Wrongful Termination


by Sayema Hameed

Does an employee have a legal cause of action for wrongful termination in violation of public policy if an employer decides not to exercise an option to renew the employee’s contract?  The answer, according to a new California Court of Appeal opinion, is no, an employee whose employment contract is not renewed does not have a wrongful termination claim.

This case involves a famous employee, actress Nicollette Sheridan of Desperate Housewives fame.  The case is Touchstone Television Productions v. Superior Court (Nicollette Sheridan) (Second District, Div. Four, Case No. B241137; filed 8/16/12).

Lidow v. Superior Court: California Law Applies To Wrongful Termination Claim By Officer of Foreign Corporation


by Sayema Hameed

In a new decision, the California Court of Appeal has answered the following novel question:  Under the conflict of law principle known as the internal affairs doctrine, does California law or foreign law apply to a claim brought by an officer of a foreign corporation for wrongful termination in violation of public policy?  In Lidow v. Superior Court (International Rectifier Corp.) (filed May 23, 2012, Second District, Div. Two, Case No. B239042), the Court of Appeal answered the question as follows: “We hold that under the circumstances alleged here, specifically where a foreign corporation has removed or constructively discharged a corporate officer in retaliation for that person’s complaints of possible harmful or unethical activity, California law applies.”