California Court of Appeals, Second District, Fourth Division
Cal.Rptr.3d 775] ORIGINAL PROCEEDINGS; petition for writ of
mandate. Stephanie M. Bowick, Judge. Petition granted in part
and denied in part. (Los Angeles County Super. Ct. No.
[Copyrighted Material Omitted]
& Dean, Frank A. Magnanimo, Sherman Oaks; Alexander Krakow &
Glick LLP, Tracy L. Fehr, Los Angeles, for Petitioner.
Hastings, Stephen L. Berry and Blake R. Bertagna, Costa Mesa,
for Real Parties in Interest.
temporary corporate benefits staffer mistakenly thinks an
employee has transitioned from short term disability (STD) to
long term disability (LTD) and is unable to work with or
without an accommodation. She fires him. The terminated
employee tries to correct the misunderstandings, but for
months the corporation ignores his entreaties. Does this
constitute direct evidence of disability discrimination under
the Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA) (Government Code �
12900 et seq.)? For the reasons described below, we decide it
does, and therefore reverse the portion of the trial court’s
order granting the corporation’s motion for summary
adjudication of the employee’s disability discrimination
cause of action. We also reverse the portions of the order
granting summary adjudication of the employee’s retaliation,
failure to prevent discrimination, and wrongful termination
causes of action. We publish to clarify that even a
legitimate company policy, if mistakenly applied, may
engender FEHA disability discrimination liability.
FACTUAL AND PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND
John Glynn worked for real parties in interest Allergan, Inc.
and Allergan USA, Inc. (collectively, Allergan) as a
pharmaceutical sales representative. His primary duties
involved driving to doctors’ offices to promote Allergan’s
pharmaceutical products. In January 2016, Glynn requested,
and Allergan approved, a medical leave of absence for a
serious eye condition (myopic macular degeneration). Glynn’s
doctor provided a medical certification designating Glynn’s
work status as "no work" because Glynn "can’t
Allergan’s reasonable accommodation policy lists
"reassignment to a vacant position" as a potential