The Court of Appeals of California made a decision filed last week in a California wrongful termination case. The appellant, Diaz, was fired from his job as a trucker for Central Freight Lines, Inc. in 2007.
Diaz alleged that Central Freight Lines terminated his employment with their company as a retaliatory action resulting from his filing a sexual harassment suit against them in 2004. The jury ruled in favor of Diaz in that suit, and he and Central Freight Lines came to an amicable settlement. Diaz continued working for the company afterwards, until he injured his back on the job in 2006.
Diaz remained on medical leave for nearly one year after that accident. Upon his return to work at Central Freight Lines, he had to take a drug test per the requirements of the employer. After submitting to multiple tests, Diaz’s samples kept coming back as inconclusive. This means his employer had no way of determining whether or not he was using drugs.
According to Central Freight Lines, that uncertainty regarding his sobriety posed a danger to the public and threatened the company in the form of potential liability claims. Those threats warranted the termination of Diaz’s employment.
He has put up a fight, however, claiming that his termination was not directly related to the drug tests, as the company alleges. Diaz argued in a previous trial court that the previous sexual discrimination case against the company as well as his back injury were the true motivating factors behind the loss of his job.
The trial court ruled in favor of Central Freights based on their opinion that Diaz did not have the material evidence to prove his disability discrimination and retaliation claims in court. Plus, according to his doctor, Diaz was no longer considered disabled at the time of his termination. The court believed that the company had the legal right to terminate Diaz based on the inconclusive drug tests.
The legal battle continued after that first judgment, and Diaz recently took his case to the California Court of Appeals. He was again met with defeat, and the court affirmed the judgment of the previous court.
Diaz v. Central Freight Lines