A tentative settlement was reached in a lawsuit brought against Los Angeles County by a black senior investigator with the DA’s office who alleged she was sexually harassed and discriminated against by a white supervisor and that she experienced retaliation when she complained.
A lawyer for the county told Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Stuart M. Rice during a proceeding on Monday that the settlement of plaintiff Regina Crenshaw’s case is subject to approval by the county’s Board of Supervisors.
Crenshaw has more than 20 years experience with the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office, her court papers stated. In 2014 while assigned to the coveted Social Security Task Force, her supervisor discriminated against her due to her race, made comments offensive to her as a black woman and also sexually harassed her, Crenshaw’s court papers alleged.
In a conversation the supervisor had with Crenshaw, he said his daughter had dated black men and said she had once seen a black man’s private parts during a family trip to Jamaica, the plaintiff’s court papers stated.
The supervisor also made many derogatory comments about other black co-workers, saying they had large buttocks and were stupid or lazy, Crenshaw’s court papers stated.
Another employee heard the boss joke that Crenshaw could not be seen because she was too dark, according to Crenshaw’s court papers.
The boss often took out his knife in the presence of women and did so with Crenshaw while analyzing her work on a case, Crenshaw’s court papers stated.
In December 2015, the authors of an internal investigation concluded that the supervisor committed discrimination and harassment, but he was only given a written reprimand which explicitly stated that it would be removed from his record within a year, Crenshaw’s court papers stated.
Crenshaw subsequently experienced retaliation from co-workers, which was ignored by supervisors after she complained, her court papers stated.
After Crenshaw filed a complaint with the state Department of Fair Employment and Housing, her county vehicle’s rear bumper was scratched while it was parked on the street outside her Los Angeles home, her court papers stated.
Crenshaw asked a friend to fix the bumper so as to avoid further retaliation, her court papers stated.
Crenshaw was later placed on administrative leave, assigned to home duty and accused of making a false statement regarding how the vehicle was repaired, her court papers stated.
She was served with a “notice of Intent to discharge” and her gun, badge, cellular phone and county vehicle were confiscated, her court papers stated.
Crenshaw fought the discipline and she was eventually given a 15-day suspension instead, her court papers stated. When she returned to work in 2017, she was transferred to a less prestigious assignment with fewer chances for overtime, her court papers stated.
Lawyers for the county maintained Crenshaw was suspended for legitimate reasons and that she could not show she experienced an adverse employment action because of her race.