CACI 2600 Violation of CFRA Rights—Essential Factual Elements

California Civil Jury Instructions CACI

2600 Violation of CFRA Rights—Essential Factual Elements

[Name of plaintiff] claims that [name of defendant] [refused to grant [him/her/nonbinary pronoun] [family care/medical] leave] [refused to return [him/her/nonbinary pronoun] to the same or a comparable job when [his/her/nonbinary pronoun] [family care/medical] leave ended] [other violation of CFRA rights]. To establish this claim, [name of plaintiff] must prove all of the following:

1.That [name of plaintiff] was eligible for [family care/medical] leave;

2.That [name of plaintiff] [requested/took] leave [insert one of the following:]

[for the birth of [name of plaintiff]’s child or bonding with the child;]

[for the placement of a child with [name of plaintiff] for adoption or foster care;]

[to care for [name of plaintiff]’s [child/parent/spouse/domestic partner/grandparent/grandchild/sibling] who had a serious health condition;]

[for [name of plaintiff]’s own serious health condition that made [him/her/nonbinary pronoun] unable to perform the functions of [his/her/nonbinary pronoun] job with [name of defendant];]

[for [specify qualifying military exigency related to covered active duty or call to covered active duty of a spouse, domestic partner, child, or parent, e.g., [name of plaintiff]’s spouse’s upcoming military deployment on short notice];]

3.That [name of plaintiff] provided reasonable notice to [name of defendant] of [his/her/nonbinary pronoun] need for [family care/medical] leave, including its expected timing and length. [If [name of defendant] notified [his/her/nonbinary pronoun/its] employees that 30 days’ advance notice was required before the leave was to begin, then [name of plaintiff] must show that [he/she/nonbinary pronoun] gave that notice or, if 30 days’ notice was not reasonably possible under the circumstances, that [he/she/nonbinary pronoun] gave notice as soon as possible];

4.That [name of defendant] [refused to grant [name of plaintiff]’s request for [family care/medical] leave/refused to return [name of plaintiff] to the same or a comparable job when [his/her/nonbinary pronoun] [family care/medical] leave ended/other violation of CFRA rights];

5.That [name of plaintiff] was harmed; and

6.That [name of defendant]’s [decision/conduct] was a substantial factor in causing [name of plaintiff]’s harm.

Directions for Use

This instruction is intended for use when an employee claims violation of the CFRA (Gov. Code, § 12945.1 et seq.). In addition to a qualifying employer’s refusal to grant CFRA leave, CFRA violations include failure to provide benefits as required by CFRA and loss of seniority.

The second-to-last bracketed option in element 2 does not include leave taken for disability on account of pregnancy, childbirth, or related medical conditions. (Gov. Code, § 12945.2(b)(4)(C).) If there is a dispute concerning the existence of a “serious health condition,” the court must instruct the jury as to the meaning of this term. (See Gov. Code, § 12945.2(b)(12).) If there is no dispute concerning the relevant individual’s condition qualifying as a “serious health condition,” it is appropriate for the judge to instruct the jury that the condition qualifies as a “serious health condition.”

The last bracketed option in element 2 requires a qualifying exigency for military family leave related to the covered active duty or call to covered active duty of the employee’s spouse, domestic partner, child, or parent in the Armed Forces of the United States. That phrase is defined in the Unemployment Insurance Code. (See Unemployment Ins. Code, § 3302.2.)

Give the bracketed sentence under element 3 only if the facts involve an expected birth, placement for adoption, or planned medical treatment, and there is evidence that the employer required 30 days’ advance notice of leave. (See Cal. Code Regs., tit. 2, § 11091(a)(2).)

Sources and Authority

California Family Rights Act. Government Code section 12945.2.

“Employer” Defined. Government Code section 12945.2(b)(3).

“Serious Health Condition” Defined. Government Code section 12945.2(b)(12).

“An employee who takes CFRA leave is guaranteed that taking such leave will not result in a loss of job security or other adverse employment actions. Upon an employee’s timely return from CFRA leave, an employer must generally restore the employee to the same or a comparable position. An employer is not required to reinstate an employee who cannot perform her job duties after the expiration of a protected medical leave.” (Rogers v. County of Los Angeles (2011) 198 Cal.App.4th 480, 487 [130 Cal.Rptr.3d 350], footnote and internal citations omitted, superseded on other grounds by statute.)

“A CFRA interference claim ‘ “consists of the following elements: (1) the employee’s entitlement to CFRA leave rights; and (2) the employer’s interference with or denial of those rights.” ’ ” (Soria v. Univision Radio Los Angeles, Inc. (2016) 5 Cal.App.5th 570, 601 [210 Cal.Rptr.3d 59].)

“[C]ourts have distinguished between two theories of recovery under the CFRA and the FMLA. ‘Interference’ claims prevent employers from wrongly interfering with employees’ approved leaves of absence, and ‘retaliation’ or ‘discrimination’ claims prevent employers from terminating or otherwise taking action against employees because they exercise those rights.” (Richey v. AutoNation, Inc. (2015) 60 Cal.4th 909, 920 [182 Cal. Rptr. 3d 644, 341 P.3d 438].)

“An interference claim under CFRA does not invoke the burden shifting analysis of the McDonnell Douglas test. Rather, such a claim requires only that the employer deny the employee’s entitlement to CFRA-qualifying leave. A CFRA interference claim ‘consists of the following elements: (1) the employee’s entitlement to CFRA leave rights; and (2) the employer’s interference with or denial of those rights.’ ” (Moore v. Regents of University of California (2016) 248 Cal.App.4th 216, 250 [206 Cal.Rptr.3d 841], internal citations omitted.)

“The right to reinstatement is unwaivable but not unlimited.” (Richey, supra, 60 Cal.4th at p. 919.)

“It is not enough that [plaintiff’s] mother had a serious health condition. [Plaintiff’s] participation to provide care for her mother had to be ‘warranted’ during a ‘period of treatment or supervision … .’ ” (Pang v. Beverly Hospital, Inc. (2000) 79 Cal.App.4th 986, 995 [94 Cal.Rptr.2d 643], internal citation and footnote omitted.)

“[T]he relevant inquiry is whether a serious health condition made [plaintiff] unable to do her job at defendant’s hospital, not her ability to do her essential job functions ‘generally’ … .” (Lonicki v. Sutter Health Central (2008) 43 Cal.4th 201, 214 [74 Cal.Rptr.3d 570, 180 P.3d 321].)

Secondary Sources

8 Witkin, Summary of California Law (11th ed. 2017) Constitutional Law, §§ 1060, 1061
Chin et al., California Practice Guide: Employment Litigation, Ch. 12-A, Overview Of Key Statutes, ¶ 12:32 (The Rutter Group)
Chin et al., California Practice Guide: Employment Litigation, Ch. 12-B, Family And Medical Leave Act (FMLA)/California Family Rights Act (CFRA), ¶¶ 12:146, 12:390, 12:421, 12:857, 12:1201, 12:1300 (The Rutter Group)
1 Wrongful Employment Termination Practice (Cont.Ed.Bar 2d ed.) Other Employee Rights Statutes, §§ 4.18–4.20
1 Wilcox, California Employment Law, Ch. 8, Leaves of Absence, §§ 8.25[2], 8.30[1], [2], 8.31[2], 8.32 (Matthew Bender)
11 California Forms of Pleading and Practice, Ch. 115, Civil Rights: Employment Discrimination, § 115.32[6][a], [b] (Matthew Bender)
California Civil Practice: Employment Litigation § 5:40 (Thomson Reuters)