Raines v. U.S. Healthworks Medical GroupAnnotate this Case
The Supreme Court held that an employer's business entity agents can be held directly liable under the California Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA), Cal. Gov. Code 12900 et seq., for employment discrimination in appropriate circumstances when the business entity agent has at least five employees and carries out activities regulated by FEHA on behalf of an employer.
Plaintiffs, on behalf of themselves and an alleged class, brought this action alleging claims under the FEHA, the Unruh Civil Rights Act, unfair competition law, and the common law right of privacy. Plaintiffs named as a defendant U.S. Healthworks Medical Group (USHW), who was acting as an agent of Plaintiffs' prospective employers. The district court dismissed all claims, concluding, as relevant to this appeal, that the FEHA does not impose liability on the agents of a plaintiff's employer. The federal district court of appeals certified a question of law to the Supreme Court, which answered that FEHA permits a business entity acting as an agent of an employer to be held directly liable as an employer for employment discrimination, in violation of FEHA, when the business entity has at least five employees and carries out FEHA-regulated activities on behalf of an employer.