Be Careful What You Ask For: Court Rules Against Employees
The California Court of Appeals recently sided with the County of Fresno by throwing out a discrimination lawsuit filed by three corrections officers.
Three Laotian correctional officers claimed that they were subjected to discrimination, harassment, and retaliation by their employer in violation of the California Fair Employment and Housing Act. Before filing their lawsuit, all three filed workers compensation claims with the Department of Industrial Relations, Workers Compensation Appeals Board. Their workers comp claims were based on psychiatric injury arising from the alleged discriminatory conduct and retaliation.
The claims of discrimination, retaliation, and harassment went to a hearing for all three officers. The workers comp judge ruled against them and found that there was no discrimination, retaliation, or harassment.
The three then filed separate lawsuits in California Superior Court alleging essentially the same violations. The judge ruled that their cases should be thrown out because the issues had already been decided by the workers comp judge.
On appeal, the Court of Appeals agreed and affirmed the lower court's decision.
WHY THIS CASE IS IMPORTANT
Many times, you have a choice to make -- do I proceed with an administrative appeal or workers compensation case OR do I bring a lawsuit?
The significance of this case is that if you go to a workers compensation appeals hearing or another administrative proceeding (like a Civil Service hearing or a Board of Rights) where evidence is presented and testimony is received, you may not be able to bring a separate lawsuit if the administrative judge rules against you.
Always ask questions to understand what your rights are BEFORE you decide to proceed with a hearing in a workers compensation case.
If you have any questions, please give us a call.
DISCLAIMER: The foregoing is provided for informational purposes only, is not an advertisement, does not constitute legal advice or legal opinion, and does not create an attorney-client relationship. The content may not apply to the specific facts or a particular matter. You should not act or rely on any information contained in this article without first seeking the advice of an attorney licensed to practice in your jurisdiction.