In the Media
Quotes from attorney Phil Horowitz
2012 – FAIR EMPLOYMENT AND HOUSING COUNCIL
San Francisco Chronicle, July 4, 2012
Calif. Job, Housing Bias Panel Dropped from Budget
California’s Fair Employment and Housing Commission… is being eliminated… “It seemed like a good-government move, to consolidate and streamline, and it doesn’t harm civil rights,” said San Francisco attorney Phil Horowitz, a board member of the California Employment Lawyers Association.
2009 – NAZIR v. UNITED AIRLINES
Metropolitan News-Enterprise, October 13, 2009
C.A. Revives Muslim’s Bias Suit Against Airline
Nazir’s attorney, Phil Horowitz of San Francisco, said yesterday that the case will have a significant impact on employment law. He noted that he had already received about 100 e-mails from employment lawyers who had read the opinion, many saying they expected to cite it in cases where they are opposing summary judgment motions.
About one-third of all employment cases are being dismissed on summary judgment, “many of them improperly,” Horowitz told the MetNews. “I think we are going to see a change in summary judgment motions. The days of defendants gaining summary judgment in cases with disputed facts are over. The day of oppressive summary judgment motions is over….The days of reply evidence in summary judgment motions are over.”
2008 – MARRIAGE EQUALITY
The Recorder, July 28, 2008
Marriage: It’s a Headache
But [Stacy Campos of PG&E] adds that the company is reviewing its policies nonetheless [in light of the availability of same sex marriage in California].
That’s not a bad idea, according to Phil Horowitz, the chair of the State Bar of California’s labor and employment law section. Horowitz, a San Francisco–based attorney, urges lawyers at companies that do business in California to go over their employee handbooks and benefits’ plans. The point of the review: to make sure that they “do not use antiquated language, [such as] assuming that spouses are always opposite genders.” Horowitz adds that human resources personnel may need some sensitivity training to make sure that all employees are treated equally.
2006 – SELBY HYUNDAI
Fresno Bee, August 26, 2006
Worker Billed after Quitting
The contract Brazil signed when he took his job at Selma Auto Mall’s Selma Hyundai Mazda dealership warned that if he left within five years, he could be required to reimburse the company for his training….
Phil Horowitz, a San Francisco-based attorney and past chairman of the California Employment Lawyers Association, called the contract “outrageous.”
“It’s absolutely against the law for employers to require employees to pay for their work expenses,” Horowitz said. “The contract violates California’s public policy. The contract is unlawful.”
2005 – CITY OF OCEANSIDE
North County Times, July 26, 2005
Oceanside Councilman Criticized for Comment
Oceanside Councilman Jack Feller’s recent statement that he wants to hire an aide who’s “philosophically aligned” with his “conservative Christian” ideology isn’t kosher, according to two California attorneys who work as employee rights advocates.
“It’s absolutely against the law for any employer to make any hiring decision based on religion,” said Phil Horowitz, chairman of the California Employment Lawyers Association, in an interview Tuesday.
Horowitz said the only notable exceptions would be along the lines of a church hiring a minister. Horowitz said the 600-member employment lawyers’ association advocates for employee rights….
Horowitz said Feller would be “entitled to hire someone that shares his political philosophy,” but not allowed “to exclude Jews, Muslims, Buddhists, Hindus and everyone else from consideration.”
“That’s wrong and unlawful,” Horowitz said….
Horowitz and Spencer each said that the city would potentially be liable if religion played a role in Feller’s selection of an aide.
Potential plaintiffs in such a suit might include a qualified candidate who was denied a position based on religion, or a taxpayers group that argued Oceanside had violated the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution by using public funds to support a sectarian religious belief, Horowitz said.
2005 – MILLER v. DEPARTMENT OF CORRECTIONS
New York Times, July 24, 2005
Love the Job? What About Your Boss?, by Mireya Navarro
California’s Supreme Court ruled that workers can sue when a colleague who is sleeping with the boss is shown repeated preferential treatment. Phil Horowitz, chairman of the California Employment Lawyers Association, said employees can no longer be “treated as second-class citizens because they’re not putting out.”
[Alternatively,] “you date for a while and then break up,” Mr. Horowitz said. “The woman can take the view that she submitted to sex because of pressures by the boss.”
Human Resource Executive, November 1, 2005
The lawsuit was brought by two female former employees at the Valley State Prison for Women in Chowchilla, Calif., who claimed the prison’s warden, Lewis Kuykendall, showed favoritism toward female employees with whom he was sexually involved.
It was a “ground-breaking” decision, said Phil Horowitz, of the California Employment Lawyers Association, which submitted a brief to the court in support of the women. “It’s going to protect a lot of women in California from abuse and, hopefully, start a trend rolling in other jurisdictions,” Horowitz said in a statement.
San Antonio Express News, July 21, 2005
Romance with Boss Can Bring Trouble
Phil Horowitz, chairman of the California Employment Lawyers Association, who submitted a brief in support of the lawsuit, said the ruling is significant because it comes from the highest state court to side with the plaintiffs in such a case.
“I think the decision was well-reasoned, and it will end up being a precedent for other states,” Horowitz said. “If there’s a situation where the boss favors all pretty young women, and treats everyone else horridly, it could lead to a case of sexual harassment.”
BNA Employment Discrimination, July 27, 2005
Supervisor’s Sexual Affairs in Workplace May Create Hostile Environment for Others
Phil Horowitz, chair of the California Employment Lawyers Association, told BNA July 19 that the decision ‘is the first major decision protecting women from being treated worse because they’re not paramours of the boss.” He called the opinion “ground-breaking.”
“There’s very little from the federal courts on this issue,” said Horowitz, of San Francisco. “Because the supreme court didn’t draw a bright line, the cases will boil down to the effect of the conduct on a reasonable woman. The California courts of appeal will have to flesh this out.”
2005 – AMERICAN APPAREL
Business Week Online, June 27, 2005
Living On The Edge At American Apparel
As for [American Apparel CEO] Charney’s admitted “love affairs” with employees, San Francisco attorney Phil Horowitz, chair of the California Employment Lawyers Assn., says: “Any chief executive who’s thinking of having sex with subordinates ought to have his head examined.”
Libération, September 8, 2005
La marque qui s’étiquette éthique
Le président de l’association des avocats californiens spécialisés dans les affaires d’emploi, Phil Horowitz, confiait récemment à Business Week: «N’importe quel PDG qui songe à coucher avec des employés doit se faire examiner par un psy.»
2004 – SECRET GOVERNMENT SETTLEMENTS
LA Weekly, July 23-29, 2004
The Black Avenger, Milton Crawford Exposes the DWP’s Big Whitewash…
Rosales further contends that the settlements are exempt from public-records laws due to employee-privacy protections. Yet it was not the employees who initially demanded secrecy in settling with the DWP. Most employment-law experts vigorously oppose such practices. Judges, when they know it is happening, will not allow it, experts say. Phil Horowitz, chair of the California Employment Lawyers Association, says, “With taxpayers’ dollars, there is no privacy protection. That’s malarkey. A public agency has no right to withhold that information.”
2003 – ARBITRATION
Daily Journal, October 3, 2003
Ruling on Arbitration A Hot Topic for CELA
Members of the California Employment Lawyers Association will be buzzing today about this week’s federal appeals court ruling that allows employers to use binding arbitration to resolve employment discrimination cases “That’s definitely going to be the talk all around the conference,” said Phil Horowitz, chairman of the plaintiffs lawyers group…
CELA, an education and advocacy organization, will now focus on enacting AB1715. The bill would prohibit California employers from requiring mandatory arbitration as a condition of employment. Approved by both the Assembly and Senate, the bill awaits Gov. Gray Davis’ signature….
Depending on the fate of the Democratic governor, who has generally supported employee rights legislation, “the recall could affect the rights of every California worker,” Horowitz said. “People are concerned.”
2000 – OLDER WORKER BENEFITS PROTECTION ACT
Class Action Reporter, March 15, 2000
Proposed EEOC Regulation May Allow Employees to Sue Despite Waiver
The EEOC’s position is that “an individual alleging that a waiver agreement was not knowing and voluntary under the OWBPA is not required to tender back the consideration as a precondition for challenging the waiver agreement.”
Plaintiffs’ attorney Phil Horowitz, a partner with S.F.’s Lawless, Horowitz & Lawless, says employers can protect themselves fully by just following the law. “The issue never arises if they follow the requirements,” he says.
Horowitz adds that the law is very straightforward, but employers often choose to ignore it. Now, he says, employers and their attorneys are upset because breaking the law has become inconvenient for them. In fact, Horowitz says the OWBPA rules should be applied to all discrimination cases.
As for the defense bar’s argument that denying employers the finality of their bargain goes against the statutory scheme of the OWBPA, Horowitz calls that “malarkey.” “Why would Congress say [unfair] releases are not valid if they didn’t mean it?” he asks.
1999 – FAIR CREDIT REPORTING ACT
The Recorder, May 17, 1999
FTC Drops Employment Law Bomb
Klein said he could envision a scenario where a worker was fired for sexual harassment following an investigation. Because he was never told of the investigation, he sues for wrongful termination. “This is a potential fly in the ointment,” Klein said.
Plaintiffs’ attorney Phil Horowitz blissfully agrees.
The Lawless, Horowitz & Lawless partner said he had heard talk of such a law, but now it is moving forward. “It has been pursued as a throw-away claim,” Horowitz said. “That’s all going to change now.”
He said intrusive investigations, where co-workers are cross-examined and personal lives are examined, have gone too far.
“People are going to be pursuing remedies,” he said.
Plaintiffs’ attorneys may use the law to exclude evidence from an unlawful employment investigation — much like evidence gathered in an unlawful search and seizure, Horowitz said.
“You will be seeing a lot of lawsuits filed,” he said. “A lot of defense lawyers will be educating companies on what they can’t do.”…
Horowitz does not expect outside investigators to go away. “They just have to make reports available” to the subject of the investigation, he said.
Lawyers Weekly USA, May 31, 1999
Employers, Lawyers Who Investigate Harassment Liable Under
And Phil Horowitz, a San Francisco plaintiffs’ attorney, says that the Act merely requires an employer to tell an employee, “We hired an investigator. Here’s their report. You have a chance to respond.”
1999 – PROMISSORY FRAUD
U.S. News & World Report, April 17, 2000
Job Seekers, Beware!
This article talked about a number of lawsuits, including one in which Phil Horowitz won a lawsuit against Safeway. Here is what U.S. News & World Report said about that lawsuit…
“If someone makes you a promise, put it in writing,” says Don Andersen, who last year won $529,000 from Safeway. Andersen had agreed to a promotion to store manager in 1989 only if he could stay in his Northern California hometown of Ferndale. Five years later, the company gave him an ultimatum: “Move or quit. He quit and sued. It took five more years of legal battles, but last May, an appeals court agreed he had been misled.”
The Recorder, May 12, 1999
Safeway Held Liable for Bagging Promise
In what may be the first significant promissory fraud verdict since the California Supreme Court opened the door to such claims in 1996, the First District Court of Appeal unanimously upheld an almost $600,000 Alameda County jury verdict against Safeway for defrauding Anderson. The judgment included $100,000 in punitive damages….
San Francisco plaintiff’s attorney Phil Horowitz, who represented Andersen at the trial level, said he doubts the California Supreme Court will review the decision.
“There is nothing that would attract the attention of the Supreme Court,” he
[Phil Horowitz] called promissory fraud an overlooked area of law, but one the high court already talked about in Lazar.
More than anything, the First District’s opinion brings employment fraud to the surface, Horowitz said….
But it isn’t over yet between Andersen and Safeway. In addition to his fraud claim, the 52-year-old Andersen filed an age discrimination claim against the company.
Horowitz contends all the North Coast Safeway managers older than 40, including Andersen, were asked to relocate in 1994 to make room for younger managers…. That case is scheduled to go to trial by the end of the year.
1998 – DEFENSE FIRMS AND NEWER ATTORNEYS
The Recorder, March 30, 1998
Law School Not Always Destiny
Consequently, most elite big firms have short lists of schools from which they recruit…. the rationale is that if a person has the wherewithal to get into Boalt or Columbia, he must have something going on upstairs.
But, points out plaintiffs’ attorney and Boalt alumnus Phil Horowitz, that’s not all it reveals.
“Defense firms don’t hire you as an associate because they think you’ll be a good trial lawyer, but because they think you’ll be a good grunt worker,” says Horowitz, of Lawless, Horowitz & Lawless.
1995 – HERB CAEN’S COLUMN
San Francisco Chronicle, August 21, 1995
…Marc Frantz discovers the law firm of Lawless Horowitz & Lawless on the 33rd floor of the Transamerica pyramid and is worried about Horowitz…