Shirvanyan v. Los Angeles Community College DistrictAnnotate this Case
The District appeals from a judgment following a jury verdict in favor of plaintiff, a former employee of the District, on her Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA) claims. Plaintiff's claims were based on the District's alleged failure to provide reasonable accommodations for and/or engage in an interactive process to identify reasonable accommodations for two injuries, each of which was sufficient to render plaintiff disabled for the purposes of FEHA.
The Court of Appeal agreed with the District that a Government Code section 12940, subdivision (n) plaintiff must prove an available reasonable accommodation. The court also concluded that the evidence presented is sufficient to establish only that a reasonable accommodation of plaintiff's wrist injury, not her shoulder injury, was available. In this case, the jury did not indicate whether it relied on the District's response to one or both of these disabilities in reaching its verdict, and the record does not permit the court to make such a determination. Therefore, the court reversed with instructions that the trial court conduct a new trial on plaintiff's failure to accommodate and interactive process claims based solely on the District's handling of her wrist injury. The court also concluded that the Workers' Compensation Act does not bar such claims, because they seek recovery for a harm that is distinct from the harms for which the Workers' Compensation Act provides a remedy. To the extent plaintiff prevails on limited retrial, the trial court must reassess attorney fees.