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Verdicts & Settlements

California Park Ranger Secures $2.3M in Landmark Discrimination Case

— May 15, 2024

A former California State Parks employee receives a hefty payout after a long legal battle.

A Los Angeles jury has awarded Angel Alba, a former California State Parks employee, a hefty sum of $2.3 million after a lengthy legal battle. The verdict, reached after nearly a week of deliberation, brings long-awaited vindication for Alba, who faced years of alleged racial discrimination and retaliation within the department’s Malibu region.

Initially, Alba’s attorney had been seeking compensation for his client to the tune of nearly $4 million based on alleged emotional distress and lost income.

Alba, who served as a maintenance supervisor and park ranger for several Malibu parks, filed the lawsuit in 2018. The suit detailed a decade-long pattern of mistreatment, including instances of racial slurs and denied promotions despite proven qualifications.

“There’s still no room for Mexican American people in leadership here,” Alba said after the verdict, expressing cautious optimism that the case could pave the way for a more inclusive work environment.

The core of the lawsuit centered on Alba’s accusations against his former supervisor, Lynette Brody. According to court documents, Alba endured verbal abuse, including being referred to as an “arrogant Mexican” by Brody. Brody, however, refuted these claims, calling them “exaggerated” during the trial.

California Park Ranger Secures $2.3M in Landmark Discrimination Case
Photo by Yaroslav Muzychenko on Unsplash

“It’s so after the fact; I’ve been retired for almost eight years,” she has been quoted as saying. “For him to seek me out specifically is pretty difficult.”

The jury ultimately sided with Alba on most counts, including racial discrimination and retaliation. Notably, the jury found against the state on claims of disability discrimination in a split decision.

This case sheds light on a potential pattern of discrimination within California State Parks’ Malibu sector.

“Hopefully, the district wakes up now,” stated Alba’s attorney, Michael Anderson.

Anderson emphasized the significance of the verdict, particularly for other Hispanic employees who may face similar challenges. “It’s hopefully opened the doors…for some of the Hispanic groups that have still, as Angel [said], they’re still being shut out,” he remarked.

The California Department of Justice, representing both the state and Brody, declined to comment on the verdict.

The roots of the conflict stretch back to 2007 when Alba first filed a complaint alleging racial bias, retaliation, and even sexual harassment directed toward his wife. While an initial investigation substantiated many of the claims, Alba maintains that the hostile environment persisted.

Further complicating matters, Alba sustained back injuries over time and developed significant anxiety in 2021. Court records indicate a medical professional recommended he take a leave of absence, which the department allegedly failed to properly accommodate. Alba ultimately resigned from State Parks, leaving behind state-provided housing and facing a fractured family dynamic due to the prolonged stress.

Despite the emotional and financial toll, Alba expressed a sense of closure. “It’s been a long time,” he said, “and finally, we bring some closure to this.”  This landmark case serves as a reminder of the ongoing fight for equal treatment in the workplace and the potential consequences for failing to address documented discriminatory practices.


Former California State Parks employee seeks $4 million in discrimination lawsuit

Former California State Parks employee awarded $2.3 million in discrimination lawsuit

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