Horvitz & Levy obtained the affirmance of an order dismissing plaintiff’s employment discrimination action on the ground that she did not timely present her claims to the administrative agency first tasked with resolving them.
Plaintiff quit her job at UCLA Medical Center and then filed a timely administrative complaint alleging that her female supervisor discriminated against her because she might have been jealous that plaintiff had qualified for her pension at a young age. After plaintiff obtained her right-to-sue notice, she sued The Regents of The University of California in court for alleged violations of the Fair Employment and Housing Act.
When The Regents pointed out that plaintiff’s jealousy theory was not a legally viable basis for a discrimination claim, she filed an amended civil complaint alleging discrimination based on her gender and sexual orientation. Plaintiff also filed an amended administrative complaint based on her new discrimination theory. The trial court dismissed plaintiff’s action because her initial administrative complaint did not properly exhaust her administrative remedies as to the claims she brought in court, and because the amended administrative complaint was not timely and did not relate back to the initial administrative complaint.
The Regents retained Horvitz & Levy to defend the dismissal on appeal. Plaintiff argued that she exhausted her administrative remedies because all of her claims involved the same termination and alleged pattern of harassment, and the only new fact alleged was a different motivation for those same actions. Horvitz & Levy persuaded the Court of Appeal to affirm because plaintiff’s new discrimination theory was not “like or reasonably related to” the theory she presented in her initial administrative complaint, and because the amended administrative complaint was filed beyond the limitations period and was not “based on the same operative facts” as the timely complaint.