Prospective Release Of Claims Did Not Violate Civil Code section 1668

Age discrimination and harassment are illegal.

Prospective Release Of Claims Did Not Violate Civil Code section 1668 (A Statute Providing That A Contract Releasing A Party From Future Violations Of Law Is Invalid As Against Public Policy)

Castelo v. Xceed Financial Credit Union, 2023 WL 3515225 (2023)

Xceed Financial Credit Union employed Elizabeth Castelo as its Controller and Vice President of Accounting. In November, Xceed informed Castelo her employment would be terminated effective December 31st. On November 19, the parties entered into a Separation and General Release Agreement, in which, among other things, Xceed agreed to pay Castelo a severance payment in consideration for a full release of all claims, including a release of age discrimination claims. The Agreement also provided that, as of Castelo’s separation date, she would have to sign Exhibit “A” to the Agreement reaffirming her commitment to abide by the terms of this Agreement and effectuating a full release of claims through her December 31st separation date. The releases extended to all known and unknown claims arising directly or indirectly from Castelo’s employment. Xceed intended that Castelo would sign the reaffirmation on the date of her separation (December 31st). However, Castelo signed it on the same date she signed the main Separation Agreement, on November 19th.  Xceed did nothing to correct that error. Castelo remained employed by Xceed until December 31. In January, Xceed paid Castelo, and Castelo accepted the settlement payment. Castelo made no attempt to revoke the Separation Agreement or Reaffirmation at any time before or after receiving payment.

In August, Castelo filed a lawsuit alleging age discrimination and wrongful termination in violation of Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA). The parties stipulated to arbitration. Xceed filed a motion for summary judgment based on the releases in the Separation Agreement and the Reaffirmation, and the arbitrator granted the motion. Castelo moved to vacate the arbitration award, arguing that the arbitrator exceeded his powers by enforcing a release made unlawful by Civil Code section 1668, which prohibits pre-dispute releases of liability in some circumstances. The trial court denied the motion to vacate and entered judgment confirming the arbitration award. The Court of Appeal affirmed:
The arbitrator correctly ruled the release did not violate Civil Code section 1668. Castelo signed the separation agreement after she was informed of the decision to terminate her but before her last day on the job. At the time she signed, she already believed that the decision to terminate her was based on age discrimination and that she had a valid claim for wrongful termination. The alleged violation of FEHA had already occurred, even though the claim had not yet fully accrued. Accordingly, the release did not violate section 1668 because it was not a release of liability for future unknown claims.

Race, National Origin, Age Discrimination and Retaliation lawsuit filed against HCA Healthcare

Age discrimination is illegal, intentionally inflicts emotional distress. Contact the Age Discrimination Lawyers Helmer Friedman LLP for help.

A federal agency has charged that a for-profit graduate medical education provider in Nashville terminated an employee for filing a discrimination complaint.

HCA Healthcare, Inc. (along with its divisions Tennessee Healthcare Management, Inc. and GME Overhead), a for-profit healthcare corporation based in Nashville that provides graduate medical education in over 2,300 facilities, is facing a lawsuit. The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has accused HCA Healthcare of violating federal law by denying a promotion to an employee based on his age, race, and national origin and subsequently firing him in retaliation for complaining about the discrimination.

The employee, who is Asian American, has claimed that despite meeting all necessary qualifications, HCA Healthcare selected an underqualified white candidate for the promotion over him. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) is seeking injunctive and monetary relief against HCA Healthcare for violating Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Age Discrimination in Employment Act.

Race and national origin discrimination is illegal and harmful, intentionally inflicting emotional and financial distress. Contact the National Origin Discrimination attorneys Beverly Hills Helmer Friedman LLP for help.

It is imperative to abide by state and federal laws that prohibit any form of discrimination based on race or nationality in the workplace. The Civil Rights Act of 1964, specifically Title VII, is a critical law that unequivocally prohibits racial discrimination in every aspect of employment. Employers are legally bound to ensure they do not engage in discriminatory practices such as refusing to hire or promote someone or treating them unfairly regarding compensation or job benefits due to their race or national origin.

Age discrimination and harassment are strictly prohibited by both California and Federal law. It is important to note that the Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967 (“ADEA”) is a federal law that provides extensive protection to individuals aged 40 or above from age-based discrimination in employment. Any form of discrimination against a person due to their age with respect to any employment term, condition, or privilege, including but not limited to hiring, firing, layoff, compensation, promotion, or job assignments, is considered illegal under the Age Discrimination in Employment Act.

It is worth noting that HCA Healthcare owns and operates over 100 hospitals and employs over 275,000 people in multiple states and the United Kingdom.

R3 Government Solutions to Pay $82,500 to Settle Discrimination and Retaliation Lawsuit

Age discrimination is a violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

R3 Government Solutions, LLC, a federal contractor, has agreed to pay $82,500 and provide other relief to settle a race discrimination and retaliation case filed by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). The lawsuit claimed that R3 had discriminated against and retaliated against a Black woman who worked for the company as a recruiter. The EEOC alleged that the recruiter opposed R3’s discriminatory hiring practices, which included rejecting candidates based on age and disadvantaging them due to their race or national origin. The company fired her after she spoke out against these hiring practices.

This alleged conduct is a violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which prohibits retaliation and race discrimination, as well as the Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967, which prohibits retaliation against employees who oppose age discrimination. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) filed a lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia after trying to reach a pre-litigation settlement through its administrative conciliation process.

It is important to hold employers accountable when they retaliate against employees who oppose discriminatory hiring practices. The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) is committed to preventing and remedying discrimination and retaliation in the workplace. Retaliation against employees who speak up against discriminatory conduct cannot be tolerated. The EEOC is dedicated to seeking relief for workers who take a stand against their employer’s discriminatory behavior.

Ministerial Exception Application When Plaintiff Position Does Not Include Religious Instruction or Activities

Suffer age discrimination, workplace violations - Helmer Friedman LLP.

Triable Issues As To Whether Ministerial Exception Applied To Plaintiff’s Position Because She Did Not Teach Religion To The Students Nor Did She Lead The Students In Any Religious Activities Or Services

Atkins v. St. Cecilia Catholic Sch., 90 Cal.App.5th 1328 (2023)

Francis Atkins, a former employee of St. Cecilia Catholic School, a religious elementary school, sued for age discrimination in violation of FEHA. The Superior Court granted St. Cecilia’s motion for summary judgment on the grounds that Atkins’ suit was barred by the ministerial exception. Atkins appealed.

Initially, Atkins argued that St. Cecilia waived the ministerial exception as an affirmative defense by failing to assert it in its answer. The Court of Appeal rejected that argument:


The Supreme Court has determined that the ministerial exception operates as an affirmative defense to an otherwise cognizable claim. Ordinarily, an affirmative defense must be alleged in the answer, or it is waived. This does not mean, however, that the failure to plead an affirmative defense in the answer necessarily precludes the defendant from raising it in a motion for summary judgment. Instead, courts generally have allowed an affirmative defense to be asserted for the first time in a motion for summary judgment absent a showing of prejudice. As explained by one appellate court: Given the long-standing California court policy of exercising liberality in permitting amendments to pleadings at any stage of the proceedings, we believe that a party should be permitted to introduce a defense in a summary judgment procedure so long as the opposing party has adequate notice and opportunity to respond.
In this case, Atkins has not shown prejudice from St. Cecilia’s failure to allege the ministerial exception as an affirmative defense in its answer. As St. Cecilia explained in its motion to set aside the scheduling order, at the time the parties stipulated to continue the trial date (but not the deadline for filing a motion for summary judgment), the Supreme Court had not yet issued its decision in Our Lady of Guadalupe. Accordingly, at that time, St. Cecilia did not believe it had grounds to seek summary judgment based on the ministerial exception. Once the Supreme Court issued the decision in that case, St. Cecilia gave Atkins notice of its intent to assert the defense when it filed the motion to set aside, seeking permission to move for summary judgment based on the exception. Atkins had an opportunity to oppose St. Cecilia’s request on both substantive and procedural grounds. After the trial court granted St. Cecilia permission to raise the ministerial exception in a summary judgment motion, Atkins had a full opportunity to oppose that motion on the merits.
Atkins asserts that she suffered prejudice because discovery had closed by the time St. Cecilia filed its summary judgment motion, and thus, she did not have an opportunity to conduct discovery that was tailored to address the ministerial exception. As St. Cecilia points out, however, Atkins could have asked the trial court to continue the summary judgment hearing to allow her to conduct additional discovery pursuant to Code of Civil Procedure section 437c, subdivision (h). While Atkins argued in her opposition that she was prejudiced by St. Cecilia’s failure to raise the ministerial exception in its answer, she never requested a continuance so that she could seek any necessary discovery. On this record, St. Cecilia did not waive the ministerial exception as an affirmative defense.


Atkins v. St. Cecilia Catholic School, 90 Cal.App.5th 1328 (2023)(cleaned up).

Next, Atkins argued that the trial court erred in granting summary judgment to St. Cecilia because her former job position with the school does not fall within the scope of the ministerial exception. Atkins specifically asserts that her job duties as both an office administrator and an art teacher were secular in nature and did not involve the teaching of religion to the students. St. Cecilia contended that Atkins is subject to the exception because the school entrusted her with educating and forming students in the Catholic faith, and Atkins fully embraced that role in her teaching position. Viewing the evidence in the light most favorable to Atkins, the Court of Appeal concluded the trial court erred in granting the summary judgment motion because there were triable issues of material fact as to whether the ministerial exception applies to Atkins’s former job position as an art teacher and an office administrator.