Lawsuit based on lies? Employer may win fees

Courts don’t want to dissuade employees from filing lawsuits by ordering workers to pay the employer’s legal fees. However, that’s not the case when an employee obviously lies.

Recent case: Richard, who is black, sued his employer after he was demoted from his position as dean of a university.

In his lawsuit, Richard said he was “born in China and is of Asian descent and … has an accent.” He claimed his primary language is Chinese. The university pointed out that these claims were obvious lies.

The court dismissed the lawsuit after Richard didn’t engage in any discovery. It awarded the university more than $94,000 in attorneys’ fees for having to fight a frivolous and meritless claim. (Baker v. Charles R. Drew University of Medicine and Science, et al., No. B270973, Court of Appeal of California, 2017)