Thurgood Marshall

Black History Month - Helmer Friedman LLP.

Thurgood Marshall made immeasurable strides for the civil rights movement during his lifetime.

Working under his mentor and well-known civil rights icon Charles Hamilton Houston at the NAACP Legal Defense Fund, Marshall successfully argued Brown v. Board of Education which famously declared unconstitutional the “separate but equal” doctrine.

In 1965, Marshall became the first black person appointed to the post of U.S. Solicitor General. Two years later, he became the first black person appointed to the United States Supreme Court, where he served until 1991.

Racial Harassment and Retaliation Lawsuit Against Riverwalk Post-Acute Settled

Race harassment is illegal discrimination.

A skilled nursing facility in California, Riverwalk Post-Acute, has agreed to pay $865,000 to settle a racial harassment and retaliation lawsuit filed by the US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). The EEOC alleged that the facility continually allowed black employees to be subjected to racial harassment by residents, co-workers, and a supervisor, including frequent and offensive race-based remarks and slurs since 2018.  The EEOC claimed that the facility’s management failed to respond adequately to multiple complaints of harassment, instead telling employees to tolerate the abuse. The settlement also includes injunctive relief aimed at preventing workplace harassment and retaliation, which includes retaining an EEO monitor, reviewing and revising policies and procedures on discrimination, harassment, and retaliation, creating a structure for employees to report discrimination and harassment, and providing training on anti-discrimination laws.

Kevin Kish Appointed Director of the Department of Fair Employment & Housing

Governor Jerry Brown tapped one of the state’s top young labor lawyers, Kevin Kish, 38, to be director of California’s Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH), the largest civil rights agency in the nation. He replaces Phyllis Cheng, a 2008 Schwarzenegger appointee who resigned in October.

Kish graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree in sociology/anthropology from Swarthmore College and graduated with a Juris Doctor from Yale Law School in 2004. He was admitted to the State Bar of California later in the year.

After graduating law school, Kish, a Democrat, joined Bet Tzedek Legal Services in Los Angeles, one of the nation’s premier public interest law firms. He left in 2005 to clerk for U.S. District Myron Thompson for the Middle District of Alabama for a year, but returned to the firm in 2006 after receiving a Skadden Fellowship. The Los Angeles Times described the Skadden Foundation as “a legal Peace Corps.”

Two years later, Kish became director of the firm’s Employment Rights Project, leading its employment litigation, policy and outreach initiatives. He focused on illegal retaliation against low-wage workers and cases involving human trafficking. But the firm handles a broad range of cases involving consumer rights, elder law, housing and public benefits.

In 2011, Kish was co-counsel in a class-action lawsuit that won a $1million settlement for Los Angeles carwash workers over wage theft.  Four carwash company owners agreed to compensate around 400 workers for routinely working 10-hour days for less than half the minimum wage. Some of the workers toiled for just tips.

Kish and lawyers from two other firms won a $21 million settlement from Walmart contractor Schneider Logistics Transloading and Distribution Inc. in May over the retailer’s alleged abuse of minimum wage and overtime payments to warehouse workers in Eastvale, California. The National Law Review found the settlement amount “staggering” but said its true significance lay in the “courts’ willingness to untangle multi-level business operations and hold all involved entities liable for wage and hour violations.”

Kish has been an adjunct professor of law at Loyola Law School in L.A. since 2012. He developed and teaches a seminar and clinical course for students to “investigate, mediate and recommend outcomes for employment retaliation claims.”
He speaks Spanish, Italian and French.

To Learn More:
Law Professor Chosen to Take over California Department of Fair Employment and Housing (by Jeremy B. White, Sacramento Bee)