The L.A. Times has reported that the Los Angeles City Council approved a $1.5 million payment to Earl Wright, an African American police officer who alleged to have experienced routine race-related harassment while working for the Police Department. According to the article, Mr. Wright said he was “repeatedly humiliated by co-workers who carried out racial pranks and made derogatory remarks.” The L.A. Times further reported that in the lawsuit, Mr. Wright alleged to have “asked a white supervisor on one occasion if he could leave work early and was told ‘Why? You gotta go pick watermelons?’ In another incident, Wright [allegedly] was presented by the supervisor with a cake topped with a fried chicken leg and a slice of watermelon.'”
This case serves as another reminder regarding the substantial liability employers may be exposed to if they fail to properly train employees to prevent harassment and fail to adequately enforce anti-harassment and anti-retaliation policies in the workplace.
The article is available here.
Bernstein & Friedland, P.C. is a boutique employment law firm in Los Angeles specializing in wrongful termination, discrimination, harassment, retaliation, and unpaid wage and overtime matters. Please visit our website at www.laemploymentcounsel.com to learn more about us.