Lawsuits arising out of the employment relationship usually involve more than one theory of recovery. Plaintiffs may challenge an adverse employment action based on discrimination on the basis of race or sex, retaliation, or a combination of theories. From a defense perspective, it is important to identify defenses and to raise them at the earliest possible juncture. A successful outcome depends on developing a strategy that raises the appropriate defenses at a time that maximizes the chance of success.
A former Assistant Sheriff was terminated from employment after he unsuccessfully sought election to position of Sheriff. His position was eliminated by the newly elected sheriff and he claimed that his termination was in retaliation for having run for sheriff and discrimination on the basis of his race. I obtained summary judgment for the County on the retaliation cause of action based on the Assistant Sheriff’s status as a policymaker. After conducting his deposition, I obtained summary judgment on the remaining claim on the ground that there was no evidence of discrimination.
I represented the County of Santa Clara against a claim by a former employee that the Department of Probation had violated his constitutional rights when it terminated his employment for engaging in religious counseling and for imposing his religious beliefs on juvenile wards under his supervision. The court granted the County’s motion for summary judgment on the ground there was no evidence that the County had violated the employee’s constitutional rights or that the County maintained polices which violated the right of employees to express religious beliefs in appropriate circumstances.