Correcting Interpretation of the California Labor Code
Date of Council Action Approving Amicus Participation: Nov. 5, 2019
Votes: D1, D2, D3, D4, D5, D6, D7, D8, D9 aye
Case Name: Sturtevant Farms and State Compensation Insurance Fund v. Workers’ Compensation Appeals Board
Facts: In 2013 a Sturtevant Farms employee, Javier Lopez, injured his back in a fall from a ladder while picking avocados. Lopez had suffered two back injuries on the job, and a dispute arose over whether the California Labor Code allowed more than 100 percent disability for a body region.
In November 2019 the City sent an amicus letter in support of the State Compensation Insurance Fund, which was requesting California Supreme Court review of a decision from the Workers’ Compensation Appeals Board regarding the proper interpretation of a section of the California Labor Code. In its amicus letter, the City opined that its employees need certainty in the amount of permanent disability allowed when employees have multiple Workers’ Compensation claims related to the same body area. The question, specifically, is whether an injured worker can collect more than 100 percent permanent disability for a body region over his/her lifetime.
Disposition: The Petition for Review was denied on Nov. 13, 2019.
Opposing Sexual Orientation and Gender Discrimination in the Workplace
Date of Council Action Approving Amicus Participation: June 25, 2019
Votes: D1, D2, D3, D4, D5, D9 aye; D7 nay; D6, D8 absent
Case Name: Bostock v. Clayton County (consolidated with Altitude Express, Inc. v. Melissa Zarda, and E.E.O.C. v. R.G. & G.R. Harris Funeral Homes, Inc.)
Facts: In 2016 a man filed suit against his employer, the Clayton County Board of Commissioners, claiming his employer had violated Title VII by discriminating against him on the basis of sexual orientation. In June 2019 the City joined an amicus brief supporting the position that sexual orientation and gender identity are protected under Title VII, the federal Civil Rights Act of 1964.
Disposition: On June 15, 2020, the U.S. Supreme Court issued a decision upholding the rights of LGBTQ workers. In a 6-3 decision, the Court held that Title VII protections do extend to cover sexual orientation and gender identity.
On Jan. 20, 2021, President Joe Biden issued an Executive Order directing all federal agencies to implement the Supreme Court’s June 2020 decision, which established that LGBTQ people are protected from employment discrimination under Title VII. The order also directs any federal agency with protections against discrimination based on sex to interpret those statutes to also protect against discrimination based on sexual orientation, gender identity, and gender expression.
Preserving the Temporary Protected Status Program
Date of Council Action Approving Amicus Participation: June 12, 2019
Votes: D1, D3, D4, D8, D9 aye; D7 nay; D2, D5, D6 absent
Case Name: Crista Ramos v. Kirstjen Nielsen
Facts: In June 2018 the City joined amicus briefs in several lawsuits challenging the federal government’s January 2018 decision to end special protections under the Temporary Protected Status (TPS) program. The TPS program protects immigrants from specific countries from deportation or removal, and grants them employment authorization, based on the finding that due to war, epidemic, or natural disaster, those immigrants are unable to return safely to their home country. Immigrants from El Salvador, Haiti, Honduras, Nepal, and other countries were removed from TPS designation.
Disposition: On Sept. 14, 2020, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals found the district court did not have jurisdiction because the TPS statute itself states that the Secretary of Homeland Security possesses full and unreviewable discretion in designating foreign states under the statute. The Ninth Circuit also found that there was not sufficient likelihood that the plaintiffs would succeed on the merits of their claims, as they did not provide adequate evidence linking President Trump's statements about other countries to the DHS Secretaries' TPS decision-making. The case was remanded to the district court for further proceedings. The case is ongoing.