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Retaliation for Supporting Gender Discrimination Claim

$966,500 – Employment Discrimination

Facts

Plaintiff, who worked for the City of Chula Vista’s Planning Department for 24 years, was fired for supporting discrimination claim of co-worker.

Plaintiff worked in the Planning Department at the City of Chula Vista for 24 years. During his employment, he advanced from being a Technician to a Senior Planner. He loved his job, and in his job performance evaluations he was consistently rated as “outstanding.”

He became romantically involved with a subordinate in his department (Jane Doe). The relationship ended the following year. Plaintiff disclosed the relationship to his superiors at the City.

Jane Doe eventually asserted a claim of gender discrimination against Defendant City, unrelated to plaintiff. During the course of the investigation of Jane Doe’s claims, Plaintiff told the investigating attorney of another incident that potentially involved a claim of gender discrimination which had occurred within the Planning Department. When the attorney made no attempt whatsoever to follow up on this issue, plaintiff sent a memo outlining his concerns to the Assistant City Manager.

The conclusion of the investigation regarding Jane Doe’s discrimination/harassment allegations was that although many of the acts alleged by her factually occurred, they did not rise to the level of harassment.

The City’s long-standing policies required that it retain an outside independent investigator to conduct an investigation. Plaintiff witnessed and reported discrimination by Mr. L, head of the planning department. The City decided to handle the plaintiff’s report “in-house.” Instead of an outside investigator, the Assistant Director of HR conducted her own “investigation.” Mr. L was never advised in writing as required by their policies that a complaint of gender discrimination had been made against him. HR concluded that the plaintiff’s allegations on behalf of Jane Doe and a female job applicant were “unproven and unfounded.”

Less than two weeks following the conclusion of the investigation, plaintiff delivered a memo to the Assistant HR Director expressing his dismay regarding the “findings” of the investigation. Two days later, plaintiff was presented with his Advance Notice of Termination, indicating that he had been fired by the City of Chula Vista. This document was authored by Mr. L, the head of the planning department. Jane Doe was fired from her job the same day.

Allegations/Contentions

Plaintiff claims defendants retaliated against him for protected conduct in making good faith complaints against prohibited employment practices. Defendants committed intentional and negligent infliction of emotional distress, statutory violations, tortious discharge and defamation. The plaintiff was fired in retaliation for supporting the discrimination claim of Jane Doe and also the gender discrimination claim of another job applicant at the City of Chula Vista.

Injuries/Damages

Loss of earnings ranged between $494,237-$531,587, and emotional distress damages were alleged.

Special Notes

Settlement was in the form of cash payment plus periodic payments. Plaintiff was also entitled to his full retirement benefits.


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super-Lawyers-top-50
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