Officer sues racists department (shocking)
West Covina, CA – A former West Covina police officer is suing his former department for racial discrimination. The officer alleges that his supervisors and coworkers harassed him ont eh basis of his race because he is African American. Accord to suits, the members of his department often called him “big black ghetto cop” and “the black kid.” These clearly discriminatory comments took stern jabs at the former officer’s race, and is a form of racial discrimination under Title VII.
Joshua Volagis has filed a suit in the Los Angeles Superior Court against West Covena City, naming Lt. Ronald Allen, Lt. Kenneth Plunket, Sgt. Houston Clements and Sgt. Brian Prizzi, as co- defendants in a claim of racial discrimination, harassment, retaliation and failure to prevent harassment and discrimination.
According to the suit, Volagis performed his duties in exemplary fashion during his time with his department. However, Volagis states that his supervisor’s told him his main focus was to “stop blacks in West Covina.” According to his suit, the department felt he had “free reign over the black community because he does not have to fear any allegations of racial bias.” Further, his coworkers would make frequent racial comments, jokes, and slurs directed towards Volagis on the daily basis. On one occasion, a supervisor told Volagis that they would send him to the scene of the next burglary without a badge, meaning that no suspect could see him so long as he didn’t smile. His fellow officers would frequently speak in slave-era dialect as evidence of the hostile work environment Volagis faced daily.
In an effort to stand up for his rights, Volagis would make frequent complaints of the racial animus and employment discrimination to his superiors. However, when he would complain, his superiors would tell him to “remember who you are and what you are,” clearly referring to his race. They would also remind Volagis that “reputation means a lot there and we are like a small family,” in an effort to stop him from making complaints. His fellow officers would also make thinly veiled threats, reminding Volagis that they had a “stack of blank internal affairs investigations in their office with your name on them.” Despite the department’s frequent attempts to discourage Volagis’ from pursuing his claims, Volagis’ filled his claims in federal court and as a result, on August 28th, he was wrongfully terminated from the department.
The department’s response the Volagis’ complaints constitutes retaliation under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Under Title VII, an employer is liable for retaliation if the employer takes in adverse employment action against an employee as a result of that employee opposing any discriminating or harassing conduct. Here, the department clearly retaliated against Volagis when it terminated him as a result of his frequent complaints of racial discrimination. Volagis seeks punitive damages as the acts of the department were willful and malicious.
While Volagis sued under California state laws, the New York City Human Rights Law and the New York State Human Rights Law are analogous to both California State law and Federal Title VII, providing protections against racial discrimination and retaliation. In addition, Title VII legislation created the Equal Employment Opportunities Commission (“EEOC”), who’s primary task is to the handle claims of employment discrimination.
The talented New York City sexual harassment attorneys at the Derek Smith Law Group, PLLC have years of experience litigating claims of racial discriminating against employers, including many police departments. Working together with our Philadelphia sexual harassment attorneys, we have received six figure verdicts on behalf of your clients. If you feel like you’ve been discriminated against on the basis of your race, please give our talented attorneys a call, toll free- at 1877 4NYLAWS, for your free consultation.
Call today to schedule a FREE sexual harassment or employment discrimination legal Consultation in NY, NJ & PA with one of our top rated employment law or sexual harassment attorneys here at the Derek Smith Law Group. You can reach us online or by calling . Our New York City, New Jersey and Philadelphia labor & employment law attorneys handle a variety of cases involving sexual harassment, racial discrimination, pregnancy discrimination, and other employment-related claims. We serve clients throughout New York, including Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens, the Bronx, and Staten Island. We also have offices in New Jersey and Philadelphia to serve you.
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