Porter Scott Wins Ninth Circuit Employment Discrimination/Harassment Case

The Ninth Circuit affirmed a summary judgment ruling in favor of the County of San Joaquin and its former Public Works Director in an employment discrimination and harassment case. Plaintiff sued the County and the former Director after Plaintiff was not promoted to a senior management position in the Public Works Department. Although no one was ultimately selected for the position, Plaintiff argued that the Director showed favoritism toward another candidate of the Director’s own race during the interview process. Plaintiff also alleged that the Director treated the employees of his own race more favorably than employees of other races, and that the Director made harassing comments based on age.


Both the Eastern District of California and Ninth Circuit agreed with the County and the Director that there existed no evidence to support even a prima facie case of race discrimination, and that the allegations of age harassment did not amount to a severe or pervasive hostile work environment as a matter of law. Shareholder David Norton defended the County and the Director in both the District Court and the Ninth Circuit.