Judge Rules in City’s Favor After Employee Claims Her Firing Was Race Motivated

A Los Angeles Superior Court judge rejected a woman’s claim this week that she was terminated by the City of Long Beach as a parking enforcement officer because she was black, while the city maintained that two car accidents she caused led to her firing.

Plaintiff Dieanna Hollie, who was employed by the city for 10 years as a part-time parking control checker, filed a lawsuit against the city and her supervisor following her termination, alleging that she was actually terminated because of her race, city officials stated.

In the lawsuit, she claimed her supervisor “harbored discriminatory animus against African American City employees,” according to the city attorney’s office.

City officials said her primary job was to follow the city street sweeper and issue citations to vehicles improperly parked on city streets during street sweeping hours.

Within a two-week time period, Hollie was involved in two separate rear-end automobile accidents and her manager concluded she was at fault for both incidents, leading to her termination by the city after the second accident.

Upon viewing Hollie’s claim “as lacking any merit,” the city brought a pretrial motion for judgment in its favor, according to the city attorney’s office.

“The City argued that Hollie’s termination was based on legitimate, business reasons—the automobile accidents,” city officials stated. “The City also argued that Hollie had no evidence supporting her claim that racial discrimination played any part in the decision to terminate Hollie.”

After a full hearing on the case, Judge Ross Klein on Tuesday, May 23 agreed with the city and ordered judgment in favor of both the city and Hollie’s supervisor, according to city officials.

“We are very pleased with the Court’s ruling,” City Attorney Charles Parkin said in a statement. “Racial discrimination was not a factor in the decision to terminate this employee.”

Hollie’s attorney Michele Dobson said Hollie was disappointed with the judge’s ruling and for not agreeing with the findings of the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission that Hollie “was discharged by the City of Long Beach in retaliation for engaging in protected activity, reporting an abusive, discriminatory supervisor […].” 

“Ms. Hollie hoped that the EEOC finding against the City of Long Beach would be an agent for a change of culture within the City of Long Beach,” Dobson said in a statement. “Ms. Hollie hopes to receive some form of redress from the EEOC for the treatment she received from Supervisor Cheryl Black.”

As the prevailing party, the city is entitled to recover its costs of suit from Hollie.

Editor’s note: this story was updated at 4:50PM with a response from the plaintiff’s attorney. 

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Stephanie Rivera is the community engagement editor for the Long Beach Post. After graduating from CSULB with a degree in journalism, Stephanie worked for Patch Latino and City News Service before coming to the Long Beach Post in 2015.
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