Los Angeles Fireman Receives 1 Million Jury Verdict for Discrimination
Los Angeles fireman, Jabari Jumaane, will be especially thankful this Thanksgiving. His long battle with the City of Los Angeles finally concluded after more than six years of litigation. On Monday, Jumaane was awarded 1.1 million dollars after a jury found the City of Los Angeles Fire Department guilty of discriminating against him over his nearly thirty years of service. The jury deliberated sixteen days before reaching the verdict.
Jumaane, who is black, alleged that he was repeatedly subjected to racial slurs and jokes and that his superiors falsified his performance evaluations. Jumaane claims this led to unjustified suspensions and reprimands. The City took the position that Jumaane’s poor performance evaluations were warranted and that his claims of racial discrimination were entirely fabricated. This was the second jury trial that Jumaane had regarding his discrimination allegations. In 2007, another jury ruled against Jumaane, but an appeals court overturned that verdict after finding that there was juror misconduct.
The City of Los Angeles and its fire department have a history of racial discrimination and workplace misconduct. In 2007, the City paid firefighter Tennie Pierce $1.5 million to settle a claim that he was discriminated against and harassed. Pierce was fed dog food after firefighters put it in his spaghetti without him knowing. Pierce claimed that he was retaliated against after he complained of the incident. The City later paid $2.5 million to two white fire captains after a jury found that the city treated them unfairly by subjecting them to greater punishment than their Latino counterparts as a result of discipline stemming from the Pierce incident. From 2006-2010, Los Angeles Fire Department discrimination and harassment payouts cost the City over $15 million.
Earlier this year, another case against the City of Los Angeles Fire Department was resolved for $325,000.00. That case was brought by a black female firefighter, d’Lisa Davies, who alleged that she was discriminated against over her two decades with the Fire Department. Davies also claimed that her superiors hindered her attempts to train and recruit more women to be firefighters. Federal fair employment regulators found that Davies had been denied a transfer in retaliation for her complaints about discrimination.
Employers and businesses are not allowed to discriminate against workers under the law. The Civil Rights Act of 1964 outlawed discrimination based upon race, ethnicity, national origin, religion and gender. This holds true to both public and government employers as well as privately owned businesses. In California, state legislation known as the Bane Civil Rights Act protects people from continued violence or the threat of violence based on race, color, religion, ancestry, national origin, gender, sexual orientation, age, political affiliation or disability. If you have experienced wrongful discrimination you should contact an attorney at the Piccuta Law Group to determine if you have a case.