Horvitz & Levy persuaded the Court of Appeal to affirm summary judgment in favor of an employer in a Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA) discrimination action based on the fact that the employer had legitimate reasons for disciplining an employee and there was no evidence suggesting the reasons were pretext for discrimination.
The Regents of the University of California suspended Professor Nezar AlSayyad for three years for sexually harassing a graduate student. AlSayyad sued The Regents for discrimination based on his national origin, claiming that his punishment was more severe than similarly-situated professors who were not Egyptian. The trial court granted summary judgment in favor of The Regents on the ground it had legitimate nondiscriminatory reasons for the three-year suspension and the circumstances surrounding the discipline imposed against other professors were not sufficiently comparable so as to give rise to an inference of pretext. AlSayyad appealed.
The Regents retained Horvitz & Levy to defend the summary judgment on appeal. The Court of Appeal agreed with Horvitz & Levy’s arguments that the undisputed facts supported the trial court’s conclusions and affirmed the judgment.