Firefighter Loses Million Dollar Discrimination Verdict on Appeal
Jabari Jumaane, an African American, began working for the Los Angeles Fire Department in 1986. He sued the City in 2003 alleging racial discrimination, harassment, and retaliation. A jury found that Jumaane had been the victim of race discrimination and awarded him $1 million in compensatory damages.
The California Court of Appeals overturned the jury’s verdict. The Court found that Jumaane largely complained of allegedly discriminatory acts that occurred long before the statute of limitations ran out to file a discrimination claim. He claimed that he may recover damages for every act of race harassment and retaliation that he suffered throughout his employment with the City. The Court stated that Jumaane cannot recover for acts occurring more than one year before the filing of the discrimination case.
Jumaane also argued that the Department’s disciplinary policy had a disproportionately adverse impact on African Americans. Jumaane offered affirmative action audits of the Department’s disciplinary actions in support of his claim. The Court stated that the audits cited bare statistics which without more were not substantial statistical evidence that supports a disparate impact discrimination claim.
Jumaane v. City of Los Angeles, 194 Cal. Rptr. 3d 689 (Cal. App. 2015)