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San Diego to pay Black worker who claimed discrimination

October 5, 2021 GMT

SAN DIEGO (AP) — San Diego will pay nearly $100,000 to a former city Streets Division worker who filed a lawsuit claiming he faced discrimination because he is Black and was retaliated against for complaining about unsafe work conditions.

The Union-Tribune reports the City Council is scheduled Tuesday to give final approval to a $97,500 settlement with Demetris Wimberley, who was fired for cause in January 2018 after he had worked for the city for just over a year.

Despite agreeing to the payout, city officials deny the allegations and any wrongdoing. Documents submitted to the council and obtained by the newspaper say the parties have agreed to resolve the dispute “without an admission of liability.”

Wimberley’s lawsuit says city officials used a minor vehicle crash as an excuse to fire him in retaliation for his complaints, which focused on discrimination and how he was mistreated after suffering a foot injury on the job.

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Wimberley assigned to a work crew led by a Latino supervisor who favored Latino workers and rarely spoke English to employees, the lawsuit said.

Wimberley complained that as a Black worker he got unappealing assignments, less favorable shifts than Latinos, fewer opportunities for overtime and no duties that would be likely to lead to a promotion.