Featherstone v. Southern California Permanente Medical Group


In a precedent-setting win for employers in California, the California Court of Appeal affirmed summary judgment for Nixon Peabody client Southern California Permanente Medical Group in a lawsuit alleging disability discrimination and wrongful termination claims.

The case, Featherstone v. Southern California Permanente Medical Group, involved an employee who resigned her employment, then asked her employer to rescind her resignation because she claimed to have been suffering from an adverse drug reaction that caused her to unknowingly resign.

The published opinion represents the first time a California Court of Appeal has evaluated whether an employer’s refusal to rescind a resignation amounts to an adverse employment action under the Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA). Recognizing that this issue had not been previously addressed by the state courts, the court affirmatively held that the refusal to rescind a resignation is not an adverse employment action under FEHA. The court further held that, under established precedent, the employer had no duty to accommodate the employee’s alleged disability or engage in the interactive process because the plaintiff had established no triable issue of fact that the employer was aware of the alleged disability at the time of the resignation.

Nixon Peabody partner Michael Lindsay (Picture) and associates Alicia Anderson, Mae Hau and Irene Scholl-Tatevosyan in Los Angeles represented Southern California Permanente Medical Group.

Involved fees earner: Michael Lindsay – Nixon Peabody LLP; Alicia Anderson – Nixon Peabody LLP; Mae Hau – Nixon Peabody LLP; Irene Scholl-Tatevosyan – Nixon Peabody LLP;

Law Firms: Nixon Peabody LLP;

Clients: Southern California Permanente Medical Group;

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Author: Ambrogio Visconti