A Fresno based self storage facility named Derrel’s Mini Storage, Inc. recently settled an employment and housing discrimination case with the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH). Charlyn Foote, a former employee, was pregnant when she along with her husband, Kyle Foote, agreed to be resident managers at the company’s Bakersfield, California site. The case brought against Derrel’s Mini Storage was based on the policies applicable to facility managers, specifically, the fact that the policy in place when the Footes were employed and in residence would have banned their baby from housing during hours of operation and on weekends.
California State mandated that the policy violated the Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA), designed to protect the rights of Californians seeking, obtaining and holding housing, free of discrimination due to familial status and to seek, obtain, and hold employment without discrimination based on sex. Derrel’s responded to these assertions with arguments that the FEHA doesn’t apply when housing is employer-provided and issued as a condition of employment. They also presented business justifications for the policy. Mediation was attempted unsuccessfully and the DFEH filed suit.
Recently, the state announced the case had reached a settlement. Under the terms of the settlement agreement, Derrel’s Mini Storage has agreed to revise the policies in question that regulate onsite housing provided for facility managers. The new policies would be designed to ensure that facility managers could safely work and live on site with their families.
This case is important as it confirms that the FEHA extends throughout all California housing – including housing that is provided to employees as a condition of employment.
If you have questions about whether or not the terms of your employment are discriminatory or if you are experiencing discrimination in the workplace, please get in touch with one of the experienced California employment attorneys at Blumenthal, Nordrehaug & Bhowmik.