Westminster, CA – April 25, 2019 – A City of Westminster employee filed a lawsuit in OC Superior Court alleging he was the victim of repeated anti-Semitic and anti-Latino slurs and mistreatment, and that the City ignored his repeated complaints forcing him to endure years of racist behavior and retaliation by his coworkers and supervisors.
NBC News Story: Westminster Employee Claims Racial Harassment
Eliyahu “Jesse” Cortez Levy began working for the City of Westminster as a Water Technician in 2011. Almost immediately after being hired by the City, he was subjected to anti-Semitic and anti-Latino slurs and harassing behavior. These violent threats in the City of Westminster workplace were propagated by supervisors, most of whom are long-time employees of the City.
Jesse’s Mexican/Jewish heritage and faith were mocked on a regular basis, and although he and fellow employees complained to management and human resources staff, nothing was done by the City to curb this epidemic behavior.
The lawsuit alleges Jesse was subjected to such slurs as “Spic Jew,” “Kike”, “Stupid Mexican,” “Fucking Jew,” “Beaner,” and was also subjected to Nazi references such as swastikas and “sieg heil” salutes. Jesse made numerous complaints to human resources staff, but none of Jesse’s harassers were ever disciplined or fired. In fact, as a result of the City ignoring Jesse’s claims, the unabashed harassers continued to mock, berate and even act physically violent toward him.
The lawsuit alleges Jesse was harassed offensive and discriminatory behavior by the Union President, an Equipment Operator/acting Leadman, two Water Division Supervisors and Water Superintendent. Jesse’s attorney, Jim DeSimone, filed a complaint with the City, including a detailed letter outlining a pattern of poor behavior against his client, but the City rejected the claims. Several coworkers and residents have spoken up on Jesse’s behalf and corroborated the claims he made against the racist coworkers and supervisors, but still the City continues to ignore the clear workplace and civil rights violations. The lawsuit also claims the City of Westminster even failed to execute a timely, effective, thorough investigation of the claims. The lawsuit is Eliyahu Yishai Cortez Levy v. City of Westminster, Orange County Superior Court, Case No. 30-2019-01063410-CU-OE-CJC
“My client suffers physically, mentally, and emotionally as a result of the continued verbal abuse and harassment while employed by the City of Westminster,” said his attorney, Jim DeSimone of V. James DeSimone Law. “He did his best to comport himself as a professional and work through it, filing complaints with the proper managers; however, each complaint was ignored as he continued to be humiliated and insulted by the blatant racist behavior of his coworkers and superiors.”
About V. James DeSimone Law V. James DeSimone Law of Los Angeles, are civil rights attorneys with over 30 years of experience, and are focused on representing individuals whose employee or civil rights have been violated. They believe no one should be a victim of such mistreatment, and passionately fight for the rights of individuals. Their team prides itself on being the tenacious advocates that individuals can rely on to pursue justice on their behalf.
Download this Press Release here.
Download Court Filing here.