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JD, University of California, Los Angeles School of Law

BA, University of California, Davis

Fire Inspector v. City (2023) – A fire inspector who received light duty and then returned to work without any restrictions sued his city employer alleging age and disability discrimination and failure to accommodate his disability.  James Oldendorph, Aleena Hashmi, and Lee Heard won a motion for summary judgment that dismissed all claims.  They convinced the judge that there was no evidence of any wrongdoing, discriminatory animus, or any adverse employment actions.

Police Officer Association v City of San Bernardino (2021) – Obtained a defense judgment and prevailed on a motion for judgment in a bench trial involving a breach of contract action. Plaintiff, the Police Officer’s Association (POA), claimed the City breached an MOU provision regarding how the City’s salary survey was supposed to be conducted. In granting Defendant’s motion, the Judge found that the POA did not establish a prima facie case for breach of the 2015-2020 MOU and entered judgment in favor of the City and against the POA.

Todd Palombo v. City of Costa Mesa (2019) – A former firefighter brought claims against the City alleging he was not promoted to Captain due to his age. A prima facie case of age discrimination arises when the employee shows (1) at the time of the adverse action he or she was 40 years of age or older (2) an adverse employment action was taken against the employee, (3) at the time of the adverse action the employee was satisfactorily performing his or her job and (4) some other circumstance suggesting a discriminatory motive was present, such as replacement by a significantly younger worker with similar qualifications. Plaintiff argued that, because the testing process gave the Fire Chief discretion to promote the applicant he felt was best qualified from an eligibility list, it allowed the Fire Chief to discriminate against Plaintiff.  However, LCW demonstrated that the City had legitimate, non-discriminatory reason for promoting individuals other than Plaintiff. In fact, a majority of the candidates selected during the contested time period were over the age of 40 and outscored Plaintiff on the promotional examination.  Based on the foregoing, the Judge granted Motion Summary Judgement in favor of the City.

Employer Policy Considerations Following the Rise of ChatGPT
California Public Agency Labor & Employment Blog

Since its November 2022 launch, ChatGPT, an artificial intelligence (AI) chatbot, has garnered significant international attention. By January 2023, ChatGPT had an estimated 100 million monthly active users. Given its extensive adoption, it is likely your agency’s employees have used or are...

Tips for Employers to Prepare for a COVID-19 Winter Surge
California Public Agency Labor & Employment Blog

Does anyone want to hear about the potential for a COVID-19 winter surge? Probably not. Unfortunately, experts warn that a surge is possible. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (“CDC”) warns about new immunity-evading Omicron subvariants, BQ.1 and BQ.1.1. CDC models show that these new...

Governor Newsom Signs Senate Bill 1100 into Law, Amending the Brown Act to Add a Provision Addressing Public Decorum Standards at Open Meetings
LCW Special Bulletin

Last week, Governor Newsom signed Senate Bill 1100 (SB 1100) into law.  SB 1100 amends the Ralph M. Brown Act (Brown Act) to provide clarification regarding the authority of a local agency’s governing body to remove a disruptive member of the public from an open meeting, in order to maintain order...


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