After working at San Diego Gas & Electric for nearly 20 years, an employee was fired for allegedly violating a safety regulation that could have jeopardized the safety of other workers. But prior to being fired in 2010, the employee had also filed complaints with SDG&E stating that he was being harassed by others because of his race.
The company maintains that it fired the employee in order to protect the safety of other workers, but the man claims that he was wrongfully terminated for raising concerns about harassment in the workplace.
The man’s wrongful termination case was supposed to go to trial last week. A judge postponed the start of the trial, though, because SDG&E claims that videos that were recently posted on YouTube could be taken out of context by the jury. The company argued that these videos, which were taken from pretrial depositions involving the worker’s lawsuit, would prevent a fair trial from occurring.
The long-time employee said that he was called offensive names for being black and that a coworker had even tied a noose on the back of the man’s truck. One of the employees accused of making harassing remarks and actions claims that he tied nooses and hung the nooses in the workplace only to make references to Western novels. He also admitted that he made a mistake by making inappropriate comments about workers of other races.
According to reports, the trial will now begin in January. SDG&E attempted to have the trial moved to a different county, but a judge did not grant this request. The former employee’s trial will still go before a San Diego County jury.
Source: U-T San Diego, “Judge delays SDG&E suit amid noose talk,” Jeff McDonald, Oct. 16, 2012
- Our firm handles a variety of employment law and job rights issues, including complaints about racial/ethnic harassment in the workplace. To learn more about employees’ rights, please visit our San Diego wrongful termination lawyers page.