When faced with retaliation claims, employers trust Payne & Fears to aggressively defend against such claims. For more than three decades, Payne & Fears has successfully represented employers in state and federal courts, in arbitration, and before governmental agencies, including the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) and the California Civil Rights Department (CRD). Some of our representative successes defending clients in retaliation are described below.
- Payne & Fears won a complete defense verdict for its clients, an employer, and an individual supervisor, in a race harassment and retaliation case in Los Angeles County Superior Court. In White v. Corinthian Colleges Inc., et. al., the plaintiff alleged that her employer and supervisor had subjected her to discrimination and harassment over a period of two years and that they retaliated against her for making complaints about the alleged conduct. She also alleged that she had been assaulted and battered by having a lock of her hair cut off at work and that she had been forced to work overtime without premium pay. During the six-day jury trial, the court granted an oral nonsuit motion against the plaintiff’s claims for discrimination and assault. The jury then overwhelmingly rejected the plaintiff’s claims for retaliation, harassment, battery, and overtime compensation, finding that many of the incidents described in the plaintiff’s testimony simply had not occurred and that the plaintiff had already been properly paid for any overtime that she did work.
- Payne & Fears was retained as trial counsel in a hotly contested race discrimination and retaliation case. At mediation, the plaintiff was demanding $6 million to settle and prior counsel had been unable to resolve the case. The Payne & Fears trial team quickly transitioned into the case and assisted prior counsel in preparing a motion for summary judgment. Following oral argument, the court issued a 15-page decision granting total summary judgment as to all 10 claims and all defendants. Payne & Fears attorneys saved the client from having to go through an expensive and time-consuming trial that would have exposed the client to considerable risk of damages, including punitive damages.
- After a lengthy and contentious 2 ½-year court battle, Payne & Fears secured for its client a payment of $10,000 from a plaintiff as part of a judgment in a case involving severe allegations of sexual harassment and retaliation. In the complaint, the plaintiff alleged multiple instances of sexual harassment by a coworker over an eight-year period and subsequent retaliation by the client’s human resources department. Throughout the case, however, the client consistently maintained that the coworker and the plaintiff had been involved in a consensual eight-year relationship. Over the course of the heavily litigated discovery phase, Payne & Fears obtained love letters, greeting cards, gifts, and corroborating testimony supporting the client’s version of the case. Payne & Fears also secured an expert analysis of the parties’ personal cell phones, which resulted in the recovery of several deleted text messages from the plaintiff confirming the existence of a consensual relationship, as well as unlawful surreptitious recordings of conversations that the plaintiff had made at work. After filing a cross-complaint for common law and statutory privacy violations based on the secret recordings, Payne & Fears won summary judgment on those claims and secured a judgment for its client of $10,000 against the plaintiff.