Federal Anti-Discrimination Defense Ruled out in California

November 30, 2001 (PLANSPONSOR.com) - The federal anti-discrimination law does not hold water as a legal defense in California, the California 3rd District Court of Appeal ruled in a unanimous decision.

The federal law had been available as a defense to employers who exercise reasonable care to prevent sexually harassment when an employee doesn’t take advantage of these safeguards.

The decision stems from a suit filed by a Department of Health Services (DHS) employee Theresa McGinnis, who complained that her supervisor, Cary Hall, had sexually harassed her over an extended period.

DHS asked the court to throw out McGinnis’ suit. Officials pointed out that the agency had an anti-sexual harrassment program in place which, the DHS claimed, McGinnis did not take advantage.

The ruling by the higher court in Department of Health Services v The Superior Court of Sacramento County  means that the case goes to trial and DHS cannot use the federal law as a defense.

– Camilla Klein                           editors@plansponsor.com