On June 19th, 2012, in
Rickards v. United Parcel Service Inc., (The California Courts of Appeal – 2nd District, No. B234192), held that an attorney that completes an FEHA complaint online, lacking a signature line, is sufficiently verified.
In Rickards, the plaintiff worked for the United Parcel Service Inc., (UPS). The plaintiff injured his back while at work. The plaintiff's supervisors began to harass the plaintiff and assign him longer routes. The plaintiff and his supervisors got in an argument which resulted in physical contact and threats and the plaintiff was fired. The plaintiff filed a complaint with the DFEH, online. Attorneys for the plaintiff completed the forms on behalf of the plaintiff. The forms lacked a signature line but did require that the complaint be verified under penalty of perjury. The plaintiff then sued UPS. UPS moved for summary judgment and claimed that the DFEH complaint was not verified because it was not signed. The trial court ruled in favor of UPS.
The California Appeals Court affirmed the trial court's judgment on different grounds. The court pointed to law that a DFEH complaint does not need to be filled out on personal knowledge or personally verified. The court found that the attorney filling out the complaint on behalf of the plaintiff was sufficiently verified even though it was completed online and the form lacked a signature line. The court felt that requiring a plaintiff to sign the form would penalize them for seeking the help of attorney. However, the court ultimately found that UPS was entitled to summary judgment because there was no triable issue raised by the plaintiff in his FEHA claims.
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