A white Los Angeles parks worker whose former supervisor allegedly told him “I hate white people” is set to receive more than $3.8 million after the city council approved the payout Wednesday.
James Duffy first filed a lawsuit against the city in 2011 for discrimination, harassment and retaliation based on his race and disability while he worked as a gardener for the Department of Recreation and Parks, the Los Angeles Times reported. A jury ruled in his favor in 2014 and Duffy will now receive the $3.8 million judgment plus interest.
“Our client went through an awful lot of harassment and retaliation…No one should be treated like that, regardless of your color,” Duffy’s lawyer, Carney Shegerian, told the Times. “We’re real happy for Jim Duffy and I’m glad he’s going to be able to put this behind him pretty soon.”
Duffy’s grievances were largely centered on his ex-foreman, Abel Perez. Duffy said Perez gave him bad assignments with no help and promoted Latino employees instead of Duffy. After Duffy suffered an on-the-job injury that he said lead to short-term memory loss, Duffy said his supervisors would try to confuse him about assignments.
Duffy “believes and alleges that defendants constructively terminated his employment by forcing him to retire,” according to the complaint.
Duffy could not be reached for comment by the Times, but Perez spoke with the paper.
“It’s a shame the city lost its appeal,” he said. “People who know me don’t even believe this.”