A former city of Pasadena employee was awarded about $825,000 by a jury that found he was subjected to retaliation for speaking out in favor of a colleague who alleged she denied a promotion because she was a Filipina.
A Los Angeles Superior Court jury returned its verdict Friday in favor of Richard Thompson, a longtime utility services planning supervisor who sued the city in July 2017, alleging he was forced to retire that year because of stress.
“He is very grateful for the hard work of the jury and he feels vindicated that the did the right thing,” attorney Patrick McNicholas said Tuesday afternoon on behalf of the 62-year-old plaintiff.
McNicholas said Thompson has sought other employment since leaving his job with the city, but has been unable to find employment and has been running how own plumbing business.
Attorneys for the city denied any wrongdoing on the part of the city and told jurors that the plaintiff was not subjected to any retaliation.
According to Thompson’s court papers, Pasadena city worker Aurora Isabel sued the city in September 2012, alleging sexual harassment and discrimination. Thompson was approached by management and told that Isabel was a “problem child” and that she was being placed under his supervision, according to his suit.
Thompson said he later wrote a performance evaluation for Isabel in which he recommended a promotion for her and subsequently became a witness in her lawsuit.
In November 2015, after attorneys for Isabel told Thompson they wanted him to testify on her behalf, lawyers and representatives for the city met with him, according to his court papers. Thompson alleged he was told to testify that Isabel wrote her own evaluation, not him, and that he did not recommend that she be promoted.
“This was an obvious direction to commit perjury because it was not the truth,” Thompson’s suit stated.
Isabel’s suit settled before trial. Thompson maintained that because he spoke out in support of Isabel, he was subjected to a backlash that included an unwarranted investigation over his signing of a work order as well as other “harassing and retaliatory conduct.”
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