Montebello Firefighter Wins $1 Million Harassment Lawsuit

According to City News Service, on July 1, a jury awarded a black firefighter $1 million who accused the Montebello Fire Department of racial harassment and retaliation. Photo of hate speech

The news source reported that a Los Angeles Superior Court panel jury awarded $935,150 to Vernon Creswell, who joined the department seven years ago. Part of the award includes $185,150 in lost wages and another $750,000 for emotional distress.

Creswell claimed in his lawsuit that he experienced racism immediately after joining the fire department and once heard a battalion chief refer to him as the “N” word. He said he met with Chief Dominic Hebert to discuss instances of racism he was experiencing, but nothing was done to prevent events from happening in the future.

He said one member of the department used the “N” word to distinguish “bad blacks” from “good blacks” during remarks he overheard.

Some of the officials who reportedly used the language are no longer with the fire department. When Creswell joined the Montebello Fire Department in 2008, he was the only black firefighter employed.

He claimed that he was denied employment advancement opportunities at the department because he is black and that he faced retaliation after he let his concerns about the treatment he was receiving be known.

My Employer Subjected Me to Racial Harassment. How Can an Attorney Help Me?

Instances of racial harassment can include intimidation, offensive jokes and insults. If you experienced these issues at work, speak to our Los Angeles discrimination lawyers about your legal rights. As this case shows, you may be able to file a lawsuit and seek damages for lost wages and distress.

You should not have to suffer at work due to your race—many forms of harassment are illegal and unacceptable. Have your case investigated and make sure your employer is held liable for your suffering.

Keep following our blog for more information about California workplace discrimination law. Have a wonderful weekend!

Kesluk, Silverstein & JacobLos Angeles employment attorneys