Former Port of Long Beach employee wins $1.1 million in retaliation claim
A jury awarded a former Port of Long Beach employee $1.1 million after finding the city failed to accommodate her for a medical disability and retaliated against her for filing a discrimination
complaint against her supervisor.
A Los Angeles Superior Court jury deliberated for two days before finding on behalf of Sharon Jordan on Friday. She was named in February 2008 the secretary of government affairs for the Port of Long Beach, according to her lawsuit. She had also worked for many years as an administrative assistant for the city, her suit stated. “We’re pleased, we’re happy and she feels vindicated,” Jordan’s attorney, Jeffrey Rager, said. Although she received positive job reviews for the majority of the time she was employed by the city, her treatment changed after her husband became seriously ill in July 2008, according to her lawsuit. Jordan’s supervisor asked for regular updates concerning the condition of the plaintiff’s husband, the suit stated. The boss began to criticize her work and unsuccessfully tried to have her demoted, Jordan’s suit stated.
Jordan took medical leaves of absence due to a major depressive disorder allegedly caused by her supervisor in July 2009 and in May 2010, according to trial testimony.
Jordan requested a job transfer as an accommodation, but although there were several open and available secretary positions, she was never offered one, according to testimony. In June 2010, management told her that if she did not drop her claim of discrimination, her work situation would deteriorate, testimony showed. She was fired on July 22, 2010. As a result of her termination, she lost her medical insurance, and she was forced to relocate her comatose husband, testimony showed. Her husband died in January 2011. During trial, Jordan obtained testimony from former Port of Long Beach Director of Human Resources Lisa Marin. Marin said that after she was diagnosed with kidney failure, the city of Long Beach denied her an accommodation and fired her when she complained.
Marin said she also was left without medical insurance after being fired.