In McDonald, the California Supreme Court held that where the plaintiff-employee voluntarily pursued an internal administrative remedy prior to filing a complaint under the FEHA, the statute of limitations on her FEHA claim was subject to equitable tolling.
In Riske I, the California Court of Appeal held that the trial court abused its discretion by denying Los Angeles Police Department Detective Robert Riske’s Pitchess motion for records relating to the LAPD’s selection of other officers over Riske for promotional and coveted positions. The Court of Appeal held that Riske had established a plausible factual scenario of whistleblower retaliation, and that the documents sought were critical to Riske’s ability to prove retaliatory intent and pretext in his Labor Code section 1102.5 whistleblower retaliation case. Riske I is the first published California decision concerning Pitchess discovery in a civil employment case.
In Riske II, the California Court of Appeal held that the trial court erred in ordering redactions of certain Pitchess documents that were produced to the plaintiff. In documents summarizing the careers of the police officers who had been selected over the plaintiff for certain promotional and coveted positions, the trial court had ordered redactions of information summarizing personnel complaints against those officers that were more than five years old. The Court of Appeal held that it was error to order those redactions because the exclusion from discovery of stale complaints in the version of Evidence Code section 1045, subdivision (b)(1) that was in effect before January 1, 2022 did not apply to summaries of complaints.
In Briley, the California Court of Appeal held that the plaintiff was excused from exhausting internal administrative remedies relating to his termination by the City of West Covina under the narrow due process exception to the exhaustion requirement. There, one of the ultimate decisionmakers in the administrative remedy was the Fire Chief who had recommended Briley’s termination to begin with, and that Chief had already demonstrated substantial animosity toward Briley such that he was personally embroiled in the question of whether to uphold Briley’s termination. Thus, the City’s internal administrative remedy did not comport with due process and Briley was not required to exhaust that remedy before filing a civil action for whistleblower retaliation under Labor Code section 1102.5.