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$800,000 Awarded to Former California Guard for Racial Discrimination

Diane D. Epps, a former guard at a California Youth Authority (CYA) facility in Norwalk, settled her racial discrimination suit against the state for $800,000. She claimed she was denied promotions and was verbally abused by her supervisors.

Epps was employed by the CYA in 1989. She stated that she was denied orientation upon her arrival at the CYA's Southern Reception Center by Lt. Carolyn Bouchey, and alleged that she and other African American female employees were subjected to discriminatory actions that included reduced hours and graveyard, consecutive, fill in and holiday shift assignments.

Epps claimed that she had filed complaints in 1993 which were never acted upon, and that she was denied promotions for four years despite her qualifications over newly-promoted rookies. She also alleged that a sexual harassment claim went un-investigated and that her complaints resulted in verbal abuse by superiors. One lieutenant reportedly asked her, "Are your stripes Velcro?," inferring that her 2002 promotion, due to her complaints, was temporary.

Superior Court Judge John Wiley approved the $800,000 settlement and demanded full payment by May 25, 2007. Epps was represented by attorneys Michael P. King and Wells Samuel Jay, Jr. See: Epps v. State of California, Los Angeles Superior Court, Case No. BC335130.

Source:, Los Angeles News

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Related legal case

Epps v. State of California