Associational Disability Discrimination = Don’t Be An Ass

Large employers, armed with lawyers and lobbyists, complain about draconian legislation they say impedes their ability to conduct business profitably. As a plaintiff’s attorney heretic, I agree with them some of the time. But when you read cases like this, it makes me think some employers get what they deserve.

This is a story of a man whose son requires daily dialysis. He applied for a truck driver job and he told his prospective employer that he would need to work shifts that would enable him to administer his son’s dialysis. The employer, Dependable Highway Express, hired plaintiff and everything worked out well for both parties for about three years.

But then plaintiff got a new supervisor (and I might as well mention his name because he’s such an ass), Boldomero Munoz-Guillen, aka “Junior.” Junior refused to give plaintiff schedules that would accommodate plaintiff’s need to administer his son’s dialysis. Junior then fired plaintiff.

That’s why I think “ass” is a good name for Junior.

So plaintiff sued DHE for all of the relevant causes of action under FEHA, including wrongful termination in violation of public policy. And the trial court granted DHE’s motion for summary judgment! Just the skeleton facts outlined here should be enough to survive a motion for summary judgment.

Luckily, a Second Appellate District panel reversed the summary judgment.

This case is a good read because it discusses associational disability discrimination and as the Court notes, there aren’t many published cases dealing with it. Justice Grimes did “respectfully” dissent and some of Justice Grimes’ reasoning makes sense. But I think the tipping point was Junior’s cold-hearted treatment of plaintiff.

But that’s what happens to Big Business when they let the asses take over. They end up with more onerous legislation and case law which will keep their armies of lawyers busy. And all DHE had to do was recognize an ass and deal with him. And all of this wouldn’t have happened.

And now DHE gets to face the specter of a jury trial and answer to the people.

Castro-Ramirez v. Dependable Highway Express
April 4, 2016
246 Cal. App. 4th 180 (2016)

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