Managers and supervisors can thank the California Supreme Court for a decision that dispels the fear that they will be hauled in front of a jury on charges of retaliation as the result of a personnel action.
The March decision in Jones v. The Lodge at Torrey Pines Partnership establishes that, under California law, individual supervisors and managers cannot be charged with retaliation. While employers still can be liable for retaliation, the ruling also clears the way for multistate employers to seek friendlier venues in such cases.
Jones' attorney, Scott Toothacre, filed for a review of the decision March 18, alleging the justices unfairly imposed their beliefs over the will of the legislature. "The issue of harassment was not addressed," Toothacre says. "This was the court's version of tort reform."
The state Supreme Court's ruling did, however, assist multistate employers with California-based operations that seek to move similar cases to friendlier federal courts under the "diversity" legal
concept. This gives federal courts the power to decide cases between citizens of different states.