Alcorn v. Anbro Engineering, Inc.

2 Cal. 3d 493 (1970)

Plaintiff, an African American, was a black truck driver employed by Defendant.  During the subject incident, Plaintiff told his supervisor that he had informed another employee not to drive a certain truck to work because that employee was not a member of Teamster.  Plaintiff was neither rude, insubordinate or otherwise violative of his duties as an employee.  The supervisor, for no apparent reason, started yelling at Plaintiff derogatory remarks about blacks and then told Plaintiff to pick up his last paycheck because he was fired.  Defendant ratified Plaintiff’’s firing.

As a result of this incident, P got physically ill and he was unable to work for a period of time.

Plaintiff brought a lawsuit against Defendant for, among other things, intentional infliction of emotional distress (“IIED”).

The trial court dismissed Plaintiff’s claim by sustaining Defendant’s demurrer.  The California Supreme Court reversed.

The Court reasoned that Plaintiff has sufficiently plead a cause of action for IIED by alleging that Plaintiff was an African American truck driver and shop steward employed by Defendant, that he informed Defendant’s foreman of his advice to a non-teamster employee not to drive a truck to a job site, that the foreman shouted, “You goddam ni**ers are not going to tell me about the rules,” and fired Plaintiff, that Defendant ratified the foreman’s acts, that African Americans such as Plaintiff were particularly susceptible to emotional and physical distress from conduct such as Defendants’, that the foreman maliciously intended to cause Plaintiff humiliation, mental anguish, and physical and emotional distress, that Plaintiff suffered such, and that he sustained shock, nausea and insomnia and was unable to work for several weeks.

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