FEHA does not protect against bad managers, only decisions and actions with a discriminatory basis. “[I]f nondiscriminatory, [the employer’s] true reasons need not necessarily have been wise or correct. [Citation.] While the objective soundness of an employer’s proffered reasons supports their credibility . . . , the ultimate issue is simply whether the employer acted with a motive to discriminate illegally.” (Guz, supra, 24 Cal.4th at p. 358; see also Hersant, supra, 57 Cal.App.4th at p. 1005 [“‘The [employee] cannot simply show that the employer’s decision was wrong or mistaken, since the factual dispute at issue is whether discriminatory animus motivated the employer, not whether the employer is wise, shrewd, prudent, or competent.’”].)So said the court of appeal in Mangano v. Verity, Inc. The opinion is here.
Basically, Mangano was a long term employee at Verity. Springsteel, the CFO, was his boss. Springsteel gave Mangano the nickname "rainman" because he had an uncanny memory, and he was a bit quirky. He also called him Tommy, instead of Tom. ::::Wow, that's why they passed anti-discrimination laws. -Ed. :::: Mangano was turned down for a promotion that was given to a clearly qualified outside candidate. When he applied, he complained about the nicknames, and Springsteel never used them again.
Little did Springsteel (or anyone else) know that Mangano later would be diagnosed with Asperger's syndrome, a form of autism. So, he sued for disability discrimination and harassment. The court of appeal upheld summary judgment. I only blogged about the case because of the point made in the quoted language above.