Unfortunately, I was not able to help the aggrieved employee because the statute of limitations has run on all his claims. I was curious to find out why he waited for over 2 years to contact an attorney. His answer was astounding to me - it was because his Union representative told him that he has to wait for the union grievance/arbitration to be completed before he can file an action in court. That was a terrible advice as the contract that governs the employment relationship between the employer and its employees - union members (collective bargaining agreement) only preempts and forces the parties to arbitrate out of court those disputes that CBA covers. The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals addressed the issue of preemption of FEHA claims by CBA in several cases, one of which is Jimeno v. Mobil Oil Corp. (9th Cir. 1995) 66 F.rd 1514. In that case, the court concluded that the FEHA discrimination / retaliation claims required a pure factual inquiry, not requiring consultating with the collective bargaining agreement. Therefore, the employee's claims for disability discrimination in employment was not preempted.
Orindarily, issues that are covered by, and therefore also pre-empted by CBA, are whether the employee was terminated for "just cause" as well as working condition, wages, time off, and other terms of employment.
I hope this article will be of help those workers who submit a union grievance and will help them protect their rights to file a lawsuit in court.