In McGrory v. Applied Signal Technology, Inc., 152 Cal. Rptr. 3d 154 (Cal. Ct. App. 2013), the plaintiff sued his former employer for wrongful termination under California’s Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA). The employer had retained outside counsel to conduct an internal investigation after a female subordinate of plaintiff had responded to a warning and a performance improvement plan by accusing the plaintiff of sexual harassment and discrimination on the basis of gender and sexual orientation. The report by the outside attorney substantiated some but not all aspects of the subordinate’s claims, and found that in an interview with the attorney, the plaintiff had provided false answers to some questions and refused to answer other questions. As a result of the report, the plaintiff was terminated. The plaintiff did not dispute that the attorney’s report contained these conclusions, but disagreed with the accuracy of the conclusions. The court found that the FEHA does not shield an employee from lying or withholding information during an employer’s investigation of a discrimination claim, and granted summary judgment to the employer.
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Lack of candor in internal investigation merited dismissal of at-will employee
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