$431K for Santa Barbara County Worker Retaliation

September 16, 2010

Jurors ruled a former Santa Barbara County administrator who was demoted, then fired, for complaining about her boss should get $431,000 for emotional distress and loss of past and future wages.

Heidi Garcia, who was the assistant director of county Alcohol, Drug and Mental Health Services, complained that her supervisor had discriminated against her because she was a Jewish woman and she alleged a conflict of interest because her boss was on a nonprofit homeless organization board.

The Santa Maria Times says Garcia filed hostile workplace complaints and alleged the county failed to investigate, then demoted her in May 2007 and fired her two months later.

Jurors agreed there was retaliation because of her gender and the conflict of interest complaint, but they were undecided on religion as a reason for retaliating.

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