Overruling a line of old authority, culminating in Nessbit v. Superior Court (1931) 214 Cal. 1, this decision holds that a trial court’s order denying a party’s demand for a jury trial is reviewable before trial by petition for a writ of mandate. Health & Safety Code 1278.5 prohibits a health facility from retaliating against a worker who complains about the quality of care or service provided by the facility. Under subdivision (g), a worker who has been discriminated against in violation of this statute “is entitled to reinstatement, reimbursement for lost wages and benefits, costs and any other remedy deemed warranted by the court. This decision holds that there is no right to a jury trial on a claim under section 1278.5(g). The wording of the subdivision and its history show that the Legislature intended to permit only court trials and court-granted remedies, not jury awards in cases brought under that subdivision. The allocation of those claims to the court does not violate the employee’s constitutional right to a jury trial since section 1278.5(m) expressly preserves the employee’s rights under other theories of liability as well as other remedies otherwise available at law. So the employee can bring a common law damage action for a Tameny tort of wrongful termination in violation of public policy premised on a violation of section 1278.5, and the employee will be entitled to a jury trial on that Tameny tort claim.
California Supreme Court (Cantil-Sakauye, C.J.); April 10, 2017; 2017 WL 1315681