Procedural Posture

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Appellant employee challenged a judgment of the Superior Court of Alameda County (California), which granted summary judgment in favor of respondent employer dismissing appellant’s actions for breach of contract and handicap discrimination because appellant’s claims were barred by the exclusive remedy provisions of the Workers’ Compensation Act, Cal. Lab. Code § 132a.

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Overview

Appellant employee brought an action against respondent employer for breach of contract and handicap discrimination based on respondent’s failure to reinstate appellant after she became disabled due to a work injury. Appellant also filed a petition pursuant to Cal. Lab. Code § 132a with the Workers’ Compensation Appeals Board based on the same allegations. On appeal, the court affirmed the summary judgment that was entered against appellant because appellant’s causes of action were barred by the exclusive remedy provisions of the Workers’ Compensation Act, Cal. Lab. Code § 3602. The court held that appellant could not bring a claim pursuant to the Fair Employment and Housing Act, Cal. Gov’t Code § 12900 et seq., because an employment injury caused the disability on which the discrimination was based and damages were available for that type of discrimination under § 132a. The court determined that appellant’s contract cause of action was barred because the essence of her complaint was that she lost wages due to respondent’s discrimination against her due to her industrial injury and appellant had no damages that were not recoverable under § 132a.

Outcome

The court affirmed the summary judgment entered for respondent employer on the grounds that the exclusive remedy provisions barred appellant employee’s causes of actions because the handicap discrimination claim was based on the same injury for which she sought workers’ compensation benefits and appellant had no contract damages that were not recoverable under the Workers’ Compensation Act.

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