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Representative Cases

Disability discrimination and failure to promote

Avalos v. McDonald, Secretary, Department of Veterans Affairs, EEOC No. 480-2013-00564X, Agency No. 200P-0377-2012103799; EEOC No. 480-2015-00618X, Agency No. 200P-0377-2014105073; Agency No. 2009-0377- 2016103521

Case resolved: 2016

Federal agency denied current employee reasonable accommodation for physical disability. Agency also rejected her applications for promotion.

Outcome: Retained employment with full reasonable accommodation provided; restored all vacation and sick leave used going back almost five and one-half years; compensated for all leave without pay taken during almost five and one-half years; promotion and job seniority retroactive to nearly six years earlier; related higher pay, step increases, and related upgrades retroactive to nearly six years earlier; attorney’s fees. Estimated initial value $209,000.00; value increasing over years of future employment due to promotion.

Wage and hour

Shadley v. Cummings, dba Backyard Vacations (DLSE Case No. 10-85556-RB)

Case Resolved: 2015

Client was a landscape architect for a landscape contractor. Employer failed to pay wages and commissions to client.

Outcome: DLSE award for $95,503.66.

Unemployment overpayment

Case resolved: 2015

California EDD claimed that client misrepresented material facts in order to obtain unemployment benefits. EDD disqualified the client from receiving unemployment benefits and demanded that client repay a substantial sum of money for alleged overpayments, interest and penalties.

Outcome: Repayment notice was reversed, client owed nothing, and client was eligible for benefits.

Wage and hour

Norman and Keever v. Nobel, et al. (Case No. 37-2014-00016913)

Case resolved: 2015

Clients managed residential and commercial buildings for the employer. Employer failed to pay overtime wages to the clients and made improper deductions from pay.

Outcome: Court judgment for $86,341.

Wage and hour

Case resolved: 2015

Tech company misclassified software engineer as exempt and did not pay overtime wages.

Outcome: Settled for substantial money damages to client.

Disability discrimination and reasonable accommodation

Case resolved: 2014

Major retail chain failed to provide reasonable accommodation and employee’s position was threatened.

Outcome: Client obtained reasonable accommodation and retained his job.

Union certification

Case resolved: 2014

Public sector employees began organizing their first union in 2012. Employer interfered, threatened, and fought every step including the first organizing flyer, most organizing meetings, representation vote, and certification.

Outcome: Union won series of unfair labor practice charges and certification election. Currently negotiating first contract.

Breach of employment contract

Case resolved: 2014

Private sector employee opposed employer’s right to terminate her employment contract under disputed circumstances.

Outcome: Employee succeeded in retaining her position for duration of contract period and received reimbursement for attorney’s fees.

Personal injury: trip and fall

Case resolved: 2014

Dangerous condition on private commercial property.

Outcome: Settled for just under $100,000.

Disability discrimination

Case resolved: 2014

Private sector employer fired employee with progressive vision impairment after over ten years of successful employment in same position, despite that impairment had not changed in past three years.

Outcome: Financial damages.

Sexual abuse and sexual harassment

Case resolved: 2014

Female employee of religious institution subjected to sexual abuse and harassment spanning many years. Victim came forward with report after seeing publicity of a similar case.

Outcome: Confidential settlement for substantial financial damages, attorney’s fees, and other compensation.

Personal injury: auto v. pedestrian accident

Case resolved: 2014

Auto pulled into parking space and hit pedestrian. Client suffered facial injuries which required surgery.

Outcome: Settled for policy limit of $100,000.

Wage and hour violations

Case resolved: 2014

Employer illegally paid employee “under the table” and in an amount below the minimum wage.

Outcome: Back pay and other financial compensation.

National origin discrimination

Case resolved: 2014

High-level federal government security employee threatened with termination for allegedly poor performance, despite employer admitting to using incorrect review standards.

Outcome: Financial compensation.

Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) retaliation

Case resolved: 2014

Public sector employee requested FMLA leave and was insulted and criticized by her supervisor. After the employee returned from FMLA leave, she found that her duties had been removed and replaced with “busy work”; employees she supervised had been told to ignore her; and her office had been vandalized. She reported these circumstances to the administration but nothing was resolved, causing emotional distress and loss of dignity, and requiring additional FMLA leave.

Outcome: Transfer to better position under different line of management and financial compensation.

Disability discrimination

Case resolved: 2014

Employer disciplined employee for improper conduct at work, caused by employee's bi-polar disorder. Neither employee nor employer knew the employee had bi-polar disorder as employee was not yet diagnosed; however, employer understood that employee was exhibiting unusual behavior. While employee was hospitalized due to symptoms of the disorder, employer delivered notice of severe discipline to employee's home as a final step before termination.

Outcome: Employee was able to keep job with reasonable accommodation and on-going work plan; discipline rescinded.

Personal injury: trip and fall

Case resolved: 2013

Dangerous condition on private property caused client to trip and fall which resulted in separated shoulder.

Outcome: Case settled in upper five figures.

Personal injury: rollover accident

Case resolved: 2013

Client suffered major injuries when client’s vehicle was sideswiped.

Outcome: Settled for policy limit of $250,000.

Wage and hour class action

Sheppard v. North Orange County Regional Occupational Center (Case No. 04CC11086)

Case resolved: 2013

Post-Brinker certification and settlement approval of wage and hour class action for part-time instructors in adult education program who were required to work off-the-clock. [See below for information on related successful appeal.]

Outcome: Substantial financial damages, attorney's fees, costs, and class representative enhancement.

Mika and MilesWage and hour multi-party action

Case resolved: 2013

Wage and hour claims for multiple parties against same employer for incorrectly misclassifying employees as exempt from overtime and working off the clock.

Outcome: Six-figure settlement.

Race discrimination, harassment and retaliation

Case resolved: 2013

African-American employee subjected to differential treatment, on-going racial epithets and harassment. Although she reported the discrimination and harassment, the company did not put a stop to the unlawful behavior. Employee filed EEOC charge and was fired as soon as the employer learned about it.

Outcome: Financial damages.

Due process violations

Case resolved: 2013

Public sector employer proposed removal of permanent employee in violation of her due process rights.

Outcome: Financial damages.

Disability discrimination and failure to provide reasonable accommodation

Case resolved: 2013

Employee with pronounced disability worked successfully with reasonable accommodation for a retail employer for ten years. Within a few months of getting a new manager, employer fired the employee for trumped-up reasons and denied reasonable accommodation in the termination process, preventing the employee from defending himself.

Outcome: Financial damages.

Wage and hour class action

Case resolved: 2012

Settlement of wage and hour class action for mandatory off-the-clock work and related claims by hotel employees.

Outcome: Significant financial damages.

Personal injury: bicycle accident

Case resolved: 2012

Car hit client while client was riding his bike, causing personal injury.

Outcome: Pre-litigation settlement for policy limit of $100,000.

National origin discrimination and harassment

Case resolved: 2012

Middle Eastern employee subjected to repeated "baiting" and derogatory remarks, unwarranted discipline, and other adverse employment actions.

Outcome: Financial damages.

Sexual harassment and retaliation

Case resolved: 2012

Hourly female employee subjected to sexual harassment by top-level company executive. When she complained, employer discharged the female employee but took no action against the harasser.

Outcome: Financial damages and termination of harasser's employment.

Personal injury: dog accident

Case resolved: 2012

Dog bite.

Outcome: Case settled for $260,000.

Race and sex discrimination

Case resolved: 2012

High-level government employee denied promotion, training and other benefits of employment due to race and sex.

Outcome: Successfully achieved promotion and back pay. Employer paid all attorney’s fees and costs.

Defamation and unemployment claim

Case resolved: 2012

Employer ended employment relationship for false and defamatory reasons. Employee applied for unemployment benefits. Employer fought unemployment claim and persisted in making defamatory statements outside the litigation privilege.

Outcome: Financial damages and successful unemployment claim.

Wage and hour

Case resolved: 2012

Employee misclassified as exempt from overtime was fired after complaining about misclassification.

Outcome: Economic recovery: back pay, penalties, interest. Reimbursement: attorney's fees, costs. Other: Positive letter of reference, retraining program, clear file of all discipline. Employer paid all attorney’s fees and costs.

Sexual harassment

Case resolved: 2011

Female technician at utility company subjected to repeated and severe sexual harassment by male co-workers. Complaints to management were ignored.

Outcome: Substantial payment for emotional distress, lost past wages, lost future wages, loss of advancement opportunity, reputation damages, and more. Defendant employer paid all attorney’s fees and costs.

Disability discrimination and refusal to provide reasonable accommodation

Case resolved: 2011

Public school employee requested reasonable accommodation for blood disorder. In response, employer demanded medical information which far exceeded business necessity. When employee refused to provide excessive information, employer attempted to fire employee.

Outcome: Successfully obtained reasonable accommodation for employee, rescission of notice of intent to dismiss, and removal of all negative information from employee's file. Employer paid all attorney’s fees and costs.

Commercial litigation

Case resolved: 2011

Breach of contract and fraud.

Outcome: Obtained $1,100,000 judgment.

Personal injury: premises liability

Case resolved: 2011

Client suffered an electric shock injury while unplugging a motorized scooter at a grocery store.

Outcome: Case settled for $95,000.

Age discrimination

Case resolved: 2010

Federal agency denied promotion to employee on the “most qualified” list and awarded position to less qualified, younger applicant.

Outcome: Settled for six figures in damages and attorney’s fees.

Wage and hour class action

Sheppard v. North Orange County Regional Occupational Program, 191 Cal. App. 4th 289 (2010)

Case resolved: 2010

Part-time instructors in adult education program were required to work off-the-clock for specific number of minutes for every paid hour. Trial court ruled that case was controlled by the Education Code instead of the Labor Code. On behalf of our client, James Sheppard, we appealed, successfully arguing the California Labor Code governs all California employees, and also prohibits employers from forcing employees to work without compensation. We achieved success in our groundbreaking argument that public employees may hold their employment by contract, not just by statute.

Outcome: Successful appeal.

Whistleblower discrimination

Case resolved: 2010

Employer retaliated against truck driver who complained of company's safety violations and other unlawful practices. After employer refused to correct the violations, the truck driver reported the violations to the California Highway Patrol, after which the employer fired the truck driver.

Outcome: Money damages (six figures); retraining course; letter of reference; written apology; company had to correct safety violations and post related notices in all locations nation-wide.

Wage and Hour

Case resolved: 2010

Employer failed to pay employee's full wages.

Outcome: Arbitration award of $180,000 in unpaid wages and penalties.

University faculty (tenured) discipline

Case resolved: 2010

High-profile, tenured University of California faculty under investigation for alleged “electronic cyber crimes” and Code of Conduct violations.

Outcome: Successfully defended against allegations and negotiated settlement with no penalty to professor.

Wage and hour

Case resolved: 2010

Employer failed to pay wages and unused vacation time upon employee's termination.

Outcome: Arbitration award of $54,000.

Disability discrimination

Case resolved: 2010

Federal agency denied reasonable accommodation for client with disability and proposed her termination.

Outcome: Successfully negotiated settlement agreement allowing continued employment.

Age discrimination

Case resolved: 2010

High-ranking federal government employee with over 40 years government service was denied promotion due to age discrimination.

Outcome: Case resolved for substantial financial damages and reimbursement of all attorney's fees and costs.

Disability discrimination

Hunter v. Prouty, General Services Administration, EEOC No. 550-2008-00155X; MSPB No. SF-0752-09-1463-I-1

Case resolved: 2009

Disability discrimination and failure to accommodate physical disabilities of long-term federal employee. Employee complaints resulted in harassment, degradation and efforts to terminate.

Outcome: Successfully resolved case (six figures in compensatory damages, plus cleaning all negative references from employee's file.)

Personal injury: bicycle accident

Case resolved: 2009

Driver of car turning right at an intersection hit client as client was crossing the street on his bicycle, causing personal injury.

Outcome: Pre-litigation settlement for $105,000 from client's uninsured motorist policy and $50,000 from third party.

University faculty (pre-tenure) discipline

Case resolved: 2009

University faculty accused of sexual harassment of graduate student and bias in grade administration.

Outcome: Successfully negotiated settlement agreement allowing continued employment.

Personal injury: auto accident

Case resolved: 2009

Commercial vehicle ran a red light and hit client's automobile, causing injury to client.

Outcome: Settlement of $325,000.

Personal injury: auto accident

Case resolved: 2008

Speeding motorcycle hit client's car causing personal injury to client, including broken hand. Insurance company disputed liability because police report identified client as the at-fault party.

Outcome: Case settled for $50,000 policy limit.

Race discrimination

Case resolved: 2007

Private employer fired employee following his complaints of racial harassment and race discrimination.

Outcome: Successful negotiation of six-figure settlement agreement, remedial race sensitivity and discrimination training for all management employees, clearing all negative references from employee file, and other compensation.

Insurance: death benefit

Case resolved: 2007

Insurance company refused to pay death benefit to widow.

Outcome: Achieved carrier payment of $586,000 death benefit plus accrued interest.

Disability discrimination

Case resolved: 2007

Long-term public school employee developed disability. Employer denied reasonable accommodation for disability, fired employee and refused to re-hire employee.

Outcome: Successfully negotiated six-figure settlement.

University faculty (pre-tenure) discipline

Case resolved: 2007

University of California faculty member accused of sexual harassment of multiple students.

Outcome: Successfully negotiated settlement agreement.

Personal injury: dog accident

Case resolved: 2006

Dog running loose in a park clipped client's knee, causing anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) tear.

Outcome: Settled of $110,000.

Personal injury: dog accident

Case resolved: 2006

Unrestrained dog running loose knocked client off client's bicycle, causing knee injury.

Outcome: Pre-litigation settlement of $52,000.

Sexual harassment

Case resolved: 2005

Sexual harassment and sexual battery of female clerical employee by male supervisor.

Outcome: Successfully negotiated six-figure settlement agreement allowing client to return to school and pursue professional career.

Personal injury: auto accident

Case resolved: 2005

Commercial vehicle sideswiped client's car while it was broken down on freeway shoulder, causing personal injury.

Outcome: Settlement of $232,500.

Commercial litigation

Case resolved: 2005

Manufacturer of client's production equipment refused to turn over equipment after the manufacturing process was complete.

Outcome: Obtained a turnover order in federal court and negotiated $150,000 monetary settlement.

Commercial litigation

Case resolved: 2004

Breach of contract against large multinational company.

Outcome: Settled for $4,800,000.

Disability discrimination and failure to provide reasonable accommodation

Case resolved: 2004

Employer terminated deaf employee for performance problems notwithstanding that employee’s performance declined as soon as employer removed reasonable accommodation.

Outcome: Employer paid substantial award consisting of back pay, front pay, retraining costs, attorney’s fees, and more.

ERISA employee benefits

Case resolved: 2003

Self-insured employer denied long-term disability benefits to employee with multiple sclerosis, although employee qualified for benefits.

Outcome: After filing federal lawsuit, successfully negotiated approval of disability benefits, payment of back benefits, compensation for emotional distress and payment of attorney's fees.

Promissory estoppel and breach of contract

Kent v. Lambesis / Lambesis v. Kent

Case resolved: 2003

Company refused to hire executive despite agreement between the parties; independent arbitrator awarded $405,000 to executive. Company filed action in Superior Court to vacate arbitrator's award but was forced to comply with arbitration award.

Outcome: Successfully defended against Superior Court action and negotiated settlement agreement resulting in payment to client in excess of arbitration award.

Commercial litigation

Case resolved: 2003

Landlord's renovations interfered with client's business. Obtained a preliminary injunction to stop the construction project. Litigated damages claim.

Outcome: Won several hundred thousand dollars for lost business damages and obtained an order for rent reduction.

Employee benefits

Case resolved: 2002

Employer’s disability policy denied benefits to employee who acquired severe mental health disabilities.

Outcome: Successfully negotiated over $3,000,000 in benefits to employee.

Wage and hour

Case resolved: 2002

Waitress was denied overtime compensation despite working 10-hour shifts.

Outcome: Obtained over $100,000 in unpaid overtime, penalties and interest, plus all attorney’s fees and costs of suit.

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San Diego, CA 92108
Phone: (619) 233-1313

Spencer Johnson McCammon Weekly

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