California Civil Jury Instructions (CACI) (2017)

2600. Violation of CFRA Rights - Essential Factual Elements

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2600.Violation of CFRA Rights—Essential Factual Elements
[Name of plaintiff] claims that [name of defendant] [refused to grant [him/
her] [family care/medical] leave] [refused to return [him/her] to the
same or a comparable job when [his/her] [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:]
2. [for the birth of [name of plaintiff]’s child or bonding with the
child;]
2. [for the placement of a child with [name of plaintiff] for adoption
or foster care;]
2. [to care for [name of plaintiff]’s [child/parent/spouse] who had a
serious health condition;]
2. [for [name of plaintiff]’s own serious health condition that made
[him/her] unable to perform the functions of [his/her] job with
[name of defendant];]
3. That [name of plaintiff] provided reasonable notice to [name of
defendant] of [his/her] need for [family care/medical] leave,
including its expected timing and length. [If [name of defendant]
notified [his/her/its] employees that 30 days’ advance notice was
required before the leave was to begin, then [name of plaintiff]
must show that [he/she] gave that notice or, if 30 days’ notice
was not reasonably possible under the circumstances, that [he/
she] 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] [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.
New September 2003; Revised October 2008
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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.
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).)
The last bracketed option in element 2 does not include leave taken for disability
on account of pregnancy, childbirth, or related medical conditions. 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 pursuant to Government Code
section 12945.2(c)(8).
Sources and Authority
• California Family Rights Act. Government Code section 12945.2.
“The CFRA entitles eligible employees to take up to 12 unpaid workweeks in a
12-month period for family care and medical leave to care for their children,
parents, or spouses, or to recover from their own serious health condition. 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.)
• “[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].)
• “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]
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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 (10th ed. 2005) Constitutional Law,
§§ 942–944
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)
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