The sheriff’s deputy who arrested actor Mel Gibson in 2006 for drunk driving and was subjected to his anti-Semitic rant has tentatively settled his religious discrimination lawsuit against the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department for $50,000, the Los Angeles Times reported on February 14, 2012. The agreement is awaiting approval by the county Board of Supervisors before becoming final.
Deputy James Mee claims he was subject to religious discrimination and a hostile work environment after arresting Gibson in Malibu for driving while intoxicated. Mee alleged that his supervisors ordered him to remove Gibson’s anti-Semitic slurs from the initial arrest report, according to the Times. Mee claimed that his supervisors retaliated against him for resisting the requests and was passed over for promotions because he complained about purging the report.
In January, Superior Court Judge Barbara Scheper said Mee should be allowed to argue to jurors that he suffered discrimination at work and a hostile work environment following the arrest of Gibson. According to the Associated Press, Judge Scheper noted that while Mee had complained to others in the department about the mishandling of Gibson’s arrest, she said it did not appear that he ever cited his religion as a cause for employment discrimination.
The Times also noted that Mee had been suspected of leaking details of the arrest to the celebrity news site TMZ when the initial report was made public. “Despite records showing calls between his home and TMZ founder Harvey Levin, no charges were filed against the deputy,” the Times said.
According to the Times, a department oversight group, the Office of Independent Review, “found that Gibson was given special treatment, including being allowed to leave the station without giving a required palm print and without signing a statement agreeing to appear in court.” Mee is still with the department.
Kesluk, Silverstein & Jacob – Los Angeles employment attorneys