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HIMAKA v. BUDDHIST CHURCHES OF AMERICA

May 8, 1995

CAROL J. HIMAKA, Plaintiff,
v.
BUDDHIST CHURCHES OF AMERICA, JAY SHINSEKI a.k.a. DENNIS SHINSEKI, SEI SHOHARA, SEIGEN YAMAOKA, and DOES I-X, Defendants.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: JENSEN

 On April 12, 1995, the Court heard arguments concerning defendants' motion to dismiss plaintiff's claims arising under the California Constitution, Article I, Section 8 and defendants' motion for Rule 11 sanctions. Stephen R. Pappas appeared for plaintiff. Glen S. Umeda appeared for defendants Buddhist Churches of America (BCA), Sei Shohara, and Seigen Yamaoka. Defendant Jay Shinseki is proceeding pro se. Having considered the papers submitted, the arguments of counsel, the applicable law, and the entire record herein, the Court GRANTS defendants' motion to dismiss the California Constitutional claims, but DENIES defendants' motion for sanctions.

 I. BACKGROUND

 A. Factual Background

 The plaintiff, Carol Himaka, is employed as national director of the Department of Buddhist Education for the Buddhist Churches of America (BCA). She is ordained as a Buddhist minister. Defendant BCA is a tax-exempt religious "umbrella" organization which has various individual Buddhist temples as constituent members. Defendants Jay Shinseki, Sei Shohara, and Seigen Yamaoka are Buddhist ministers.

 Plaintiff claims that she was subject to sexual harassment, disparate wage treatment, and other discrimination due to her gender in violation of Title VII, 42 U.S.C. § 2000e et seq. and Cal. Const. Art. I, § 8.

 B. Procedural History

 Plaintiff filed suit on August 12, 1994. Defendants first moved to dismiss the complaint on the grounds that the Buddhist Church was not an "employer" with 15 or more employees within the scope of Title VII, 42 U.S.C. § 2000e et seq. At a hearing held November 23, 1994, the Court orally denied defendants' motion to dismiss the complaint, but indicated that plaintiff's Title VII and Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA) claims against the individual defendants were improper. In an Order filed December 13, 1994, the Court memorialized its oral ruling: the Court denied defendants' motion to dismiss the complaint, holding that the BCA was an "employer" within the scope of Title VII, but granted defendants' motion to dismiss the Title VII and FEHA claims against the individual defendants. "Plaintiff's remaining claims against the individual defendants are not dismissed." Dec. 13, 1994 Order, at 17.

 Defendants next moved to dismiss the complaint on the grounds that application of Title VII and state law to the employment relationship between a church and its minister violates the First Amendment. In an Order dated January 19, 1995, the Court denied the motion to dismiss the complaint, but granted the motion to dismiss certain causes of action. Specifically, the Court ordered plaintiff's state and federal claims for unlawful retaliation dismissed on First Amendment grounds. The Court also ordered plaintiff's claim for intentional infliction of emotional distress dismissed on statute of limitations grounds. "Plaintiff's other claims remain in the action." January 19, 1995 Order, at 17.

 II. DISCUSSION

 A. California Constitutional Claims

 The legal issue presented by this motion is whether there is a private cause of action under the California Constitution for gender discrimination/sexual harassment not resulting in termination.

 Plaintiff claims that

 
Defendants' sexually based conduct, alleged above, has resulted in and included denial of career advancement opportunities to plaintiff by defendant BCA based on her sex and sexual orientation, and in an intimidating work environment which renders it ...

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