Procedural Posture

Procedural Posture

Defendant company sought a writ of prohibition to restrain the Superior Court of Los Angeles County (California) from taking further proceedings based upon a subpoena duces tecum by which plaintiff employees sought to take the deposition of the company president in a pending action, which the company argued was based on an unconstitutional provision, Cal. Lab. Code § 1101, and was in a court that lacked subject matter jurisdiction.

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The company’s former employees claimed that they had been wrongfully discharged pursuant to company rules, which regulated and controlled their political activities, in violation of Cal. Lab. Code § 1101. The company filed a petition for a writ of prohibition, seeking to prevent the taking of the deposition of its president and argued that § 1101 was unconstitutional. Assuming that prohibition was a proper remedy to raise the constitutional issues, the court held that the language of § 1101 showed no intent to prevent an employer engaged in producing vital war materials from discharging an employee who advocated the overthrow of the United States government by force or whose loyalty to the United States had not been established to the satisfaction of the employer. The court held that § 1101 did not arbitrarily or unreasonably limit the right to contract, deprive an employer of the right of free speech, or prevent an employer from publishing his political beliefs or views among his employees. In denying the writ, the court held that the prohibition could not be used to prevent the enforcement of a subpoena duces tecum on the ground the affidavit was defective.


The court discharged the alternative writ and denied the application for a peremptory writ.