A judge has granted $1 million in attorneys’ fees to a former Los Angeles County Department of Public Social Services employee who maintained she suffered a backlash for speaking out against racial segregation in the workplace.
Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Jon R. Takasugi’s award was less than half the $3.7 million sought by plaintiff Lorna Young‘s lawyers. Young was entitled to the fees based on a jury’s Oct. 27 award to her of $3.5 million in compensatory damages after finding in the plaintiff’s favor on her two causes of action for retaliation.
“While a review of billing records indicates mostly reasonable billings, there is still evidence of padding, unnecessary billings and duplicative work,” Takasugi wrote. Lawyers for the county argued in their trial court papers that actions taken by DPSS in connection with Young’s employment were for legitimate business reasons with no intention to retaliate. Regarding the attorneys’ fees, the county lawyers maintained Young deserved no more than just under $1.1 million.
Young worked for the county for nearly two decades, most recently as a DPSS eligibility worker, the suit stated. In 2012, the director of the Southwest Family District where Young worked purposely racially segregated employees, with one unit for Latino employees and the other for Blacks, the suit alleged. Young complained about the racially segregated units on multiple occasions, saying they caused unrest among employees and caused a heavier distribution of the workload to Black workers, according to the lawsuit. The director acknowledged the problem, but left before he could do anything about it, the suit stated.
The new director refused to meet with Young or to desegregate the work units, the suit stated. Young went to the Board of Supervisors with her fellow union steward to complain about her workplace conditions, but the board members did not address her concerns, the suit stated. Young began experiencing retaliation for complaining about the segregation, including a 30-day suspension amid accusations that she had been “combative” and “hostile” while she and others went to the director’s office to protest the alleged segregation, according to the suit. Young was transferred to another office, where she was forced to sit under a vent, causing her to contract bronchitis, the suit states.
“Young realized that the working conditions were not going to improve and in August 2014 she was forced to resign,” the suit stated.
Young applied for reinstatement with the county the next year and was denied, according to the suit.
8 comments for "Judge awards $1 million in attorneys’ fees to worker who protested segregation"
It seems obvious there were issues in this office if management felt it necessary to keep these groups separated. I feel for management and entities; they are darned if they do and dared if they don’t.
Government entities follow definite diverse hiring practices. If there are groups that can’t get along, what are they supposed to do? They can’t fire the troublemakers because that will cause more trouble. So they try to implement procedures that will keep some peace and harmony.
Some people don’t know how to play nicely in the sandbox with others. They even ask to be separated from others because they don’t like those other groups. Then they are separated and use that to cause trouble and file lawsuits. SMH
Tim Scott says
Not like the good ol’ days when you could just hire white men for every job and tell everyone else to drop dead, eh?
Just by chance, are you a Trump supporter?
SMH again… says
Wow, must be nice to have such superior intellect and the ability to read people’s minds!!!
You made quite the leap there, didn’t you? This had nothing to do with white males—don’t even know how you got that. Not a Trump supporter.
Lots of workplaces have problems and drama, people not getting along, people causing trouble. Clearly there’s an issue if they were keeping them separated!!! SHE continuously complained and they moved her. What’s to say the other group didn’t complain about the work environment, maybe it was a hostile environment, maybe they felt fearful of voicing their opinions or participating. This goes on all the time!! That is why there’s an HR, and supervisors have to step in and take action. Employees get moved, reassigned, fired.
How you respond to people and treat people on this forum says more about you as a person and your character than the other person.
Tim Scott says
Okay, my bad. Usually when people whine about diverse hiring practices they are supportive of not-diverse hiring practices; ie ‘the good ol’ days’ for straight white men. And since I cannot read minds, help me out here. You complain about one, take offense at the suggestion you support the other: tell us what you are in favor of?
“straight white men“
Tim’s finally right about 1 thing, those were the good ol’ days
East Palmdales's Most Against DEI says
Just to intrude, (and since you asked, lol), I’m in favor of merit, the best person gets the job, and MLK’s colorblind society. If that best person is green, uni-sexual, trans-species or white heterosexual male, they should still get the job.
Diversity, equity, inclusion, affirmative action and the push for equal outcomes are dumbing down and destroying our military and country.
Tim Scott says
I prefer to hire ‘C’ students that admit they didn’t work very hard, especially if they have a few years of sketchy work history.
Tim Scott says
“Tim’s finally right about 1 thing, those were the good ol’ days”
I can see why you would think of them that way. I had the advantages given to me because I am a straight white man, but it just never mattered as much to me because I didn’t really need them like I presume you did.