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Southern California city loses employment discrimination appeal

In 2009 several police officers for the city of Burbank filed an employment discrimination lawsuit against the department and city. The officers alleged that they were the victims of racial discrimination during their time as officers; in 2012 a court ruled in favor of one of those officers and awarded him more than $800,000 in damages and attorneys' fees for the losses he suffered.

The city of Burbank appealed that decision and contended several defenses that, if successful, may have overturned the lower court's ruling in favor of the officer. First, the city claimed that the officer's lawsuit did not fall within the statute of limitations applicable to an employment discrimination case. The appellate court rejected that claim, noting that the officer endured ongoing discrimination that was not limited to a single of isolated incident.

Additionally the city claimed that the attorneys' fees awarded in the case were not appropriate in the given case, but again the appellate court failed to be swayed. The appellate court noted that lawyers' bills did not have to provide exact accountings of their costs and that it was within the discretion of the lower court to issue such an award.

In the end the city of Burbank may consider appealing the appellate court's decision to the Supreme Court of California. It may also decide to accept the verdict and pay the officer and his representatives the amount the lower court found that they were due. Employment discrimination cases can be difficult matters to litigate, but those who have claims against their employers have rights to seek justice and protect their employment opportunities from those who wish to harm them.

Source: latimes.com, "Court rejects city of Burbank's appeal in racial discrimination case against police detective," Andy Nguyen, Dec. 23, 2016

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