A 58-year-old former Cal Poly Farm Shop mechanic is alleging racial discrimination and harassment at his former workplace in an ongoing civil case against the California State University’s board of trustees.
CSU lawyers have denied the allegations made by Carlos R. Ramirez, who resigned in November 2007 after his two-year stint at Cal Poly.
Ramirez’s former supervisor, Gary Ketcham, also is named in the lawsuit and CSU lawyers have denied wrongdoing on his behalf as well.
Ramirez’s claims include being targeted with racial slurs as the only Hispanic employee in his work unit; a profane note written to him by a fellow employee; vandalism of his truck, including spit on the door handle and window; and false accusations that he pocketed Cal Poly funds and property.
According to court records, a criminal case was filed against Ramirez alleging grand theft of Cal Poly funds and property.
But the criminal case, which records show had a Feb. 1, 2007, alleged violation date, was dismissed after he paid Cal Poly $2,569.13 in a civil compromise.
Ramirez’s lawyer, David Hagan of Pismo Beach, said that discussion about the criminal case has been excluded by Judge Charles Crandall. Lawyers representing the CSU declined comment about the case Thursday.
Ramirez claimed in court documents that he was wrongly accused of pocketing money from selling scrap metal. His lawyer said that record-keeping of receipts was poor at the Farm Shop over the course of several years.
Hagan also said that Cal Poly tried to drive his client out after he started complaining about racism and harassment.
“It caused him to lose sleep and start sweating profusely,” Hagan said.
CSU lawyers sought to include evidence in the trial that Ramirez was forced to resign from a new job elsewhere because he swatted a fellow worker in the back of the head and made insulting remarks about him. But Hagan said that information was excluded by the judge as well.
Hagan said that he hasn’t sought a specific amount of money for his client in the trial, though in an initial court document he tallied more than $1 million in remedies sought, which included compensation for punitive damages, emotional distress and lawyer’s fees.
The trial, which was on break this week, resumes Tuesday at 11 a.m. in San Luis Obispo Superior court. The prosecution is nearing completion of its case before the defense starts calling its witnesses.