Following Alamo v. Practice Management Information Corp. (2013) 219 Cal.App.4th 466 and Mendoza v. Western Medical Center Santa Ana (2014) 222 Cal.App.4th 1334, this decision holds that the reasoning of Harris v. City of Santa Monica (2013) 56 Cal.4th 203 applies to a claim for wrongful termination in violation of public policy, so the trial court did not err in this mixed motive case in giving the post-Harris versions of CACI 2430 which requires the plaintiff to prove that the forbidden motive was “a substantial motivating reason” for the termination. Harris held that an employee proved that a forbidden reason was a substantial motivating reason for his termination or other adverse employment action but the jury concluded the employer would have taken the same action anyway, the employee could not collect backpay or damages, but suggested that declaratory or injunctive relief might still be appropriate. Here, the jury so found, but the trial court properly denied declaratory and injunctive relief because it was not pled in the complaint or requested at trial and because there was no likelihood of repetition as to the plaintiff and no showing of a pattern of discrimination against others. Attorney fees were also properly denied the employee as the case did not meet the criteria for an award under CCP 1021.5. The trial court improperly granted a directed verdict against plaintiff on his wage claims. The jury found plaintiff was an employee, not an independent contractor. He proved that his employer deducted ordinary business expenses, including errors and omissions insurance premiums, from his commission income. This violated Labor Code 221 and 2802. So the employee was entitled to judgment for the deducted expenses, and his UCL claim based on the Labor Code violations was also improperly dismissed.
California Court of Appeal, Second District, Division 4 (Manella, J.); March 28, 2016; 2016 WL 1182718