Bottom line, the California Supreme Court held (6-0) that
California employers do not pay Fair Employment and Housing Act
("FEHA") (i.e., discrimination, retaliation) back pay or
front pay damages when the employer proves there is a mixed motive
for discrimination or retaliation.
When a plaintiff establishes (by a preponderance of the
evidence) that discrimination was a substantial factor for an
adverse action, if an employer proves legitimate, nondiscriminatory
reasons would have resulted in the same decision, the plaintiff can
obtain injunctive relief and attorneys' fees, but not
We see many more employers trying employment cases in
California, decreasing settlement values, and perhaps even less
discrimination cases filed (there is less incentive for a
former employee to go through a long litigation and
receive no damages).
The case is Wynona Harris v. City of Santa Monica, case No.
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a full-service law firm with more than 700 attorneys in 24 offices
in the United States and internationally, offers innovative
solutions to the legal and business challenges presented by
today's evolving global markets. The
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