Racial Discrimination Case Against City Settled

Racial Discrimination Case Against City Settled

Officials in Tempe, Arizona have reached a settlement agreement with nine former Hispanic Public Works employees who filed a racial discrimination case against the municipality in 2005.

According to the lawsuit, the workers were subjected to frequent racial slurs as well as to both overt and implied threats over the course of several years. Their complaint prompted an investigation by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and the state Attorney General.

Last summer, a jury awarded the former workers $2.4 million in compensatory damages to be split among each worker depending on the degree of discrimination. However, the city appealed the decision, causing a delay in the distribution of the award.

Both parties agreed to attempt to settle their dispute through mediation, before the appeals court approved the city’s request for an appeal. While the total amount of damages through mediation is less than the jury award, the plaintiffs are relieved to finally receive compensation and put the case behind them.

“Money wasn’t the biggest issue here at all. It was for [the city] to be aware this happened to us and no one should ever be treated like that,” said plaintiff Raul Trevino.

The victims also got an official apology from the city, which was part of the settlement.

“The city regrets the improper treatment that these members of our community received in the past and apologizes for those past acts,” said a statement released after the settlement on Friday.

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