In Doe v. Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation, the Court held there was no adverse action sufficient to find a violation. There, John Doe, who used to work as a psychologist at Ironwood State Prison sued his former employer, the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR), under the California Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA) alleging discrimination, retaliation, and harassment based on disability. Doe also alleged CDCR violated the FEHA by failing to accommodate his two disabilities, asthma and dyslexia, by relocating him to a cleaner and quieter office and providing him with requested computer equipment. Finding no triable issues of material fact, the trial court granted summary judgment in favor of CDCR. The Court of Appeal affirmed. The Court noted that an employee’s discrimination and retaliation claims under the FEHA fail if he presents no evidence that he was subjected to an adverse employment action. It noted an employee’s decision to take a medical leave is not an adverse employment action where he voluntarily took the leave and was paid during the time off. The record contained no evidence CDCR subjected Doe to an adverse employment action, even if there was evidence of some general disputes that caused no adverse employment action. Minor disputes that caused no adverse actions, discipline, or any risks, are insufficient. The FEHA was not designed to make workplaces more collegial; its purpose is to eliminate more insidious behavior like discrimination and harassment based on protected characteristics. Moreover, an employee’s failure to provide his employer with information about the nature and extent of his claimed disabilities is fatal to his interactive process and accommodation claims.
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