A jury returned a verdict that unanimously favored Cal Poly in a racial discrimination case Thursday.
Carlos R. Ramirez, 58, sued the California State University Board of Trustees, claiming racial discrimination, harassment based on race and retaliation during the time that he worked as a Cal Poly Farm Shop mechanic. He resigned in 2007.
The lawsuit also named Ramirez’s former supervisor, Gary Ketcham, and the jury also rejected the allegations against him.
“We clearly felt that Cal Poly did not engage in any discrimination, harassment or retaliation against Mr. Ramirez,” said Carlos Cordova, a lawyer representing the university.
Cordova noted that it would have been less expensive and less time consuming to settle the case rather than go to trial.
“As a matter of principle and as stewards of the public’s money, we did not feel in good conscience that we could pay Mr. Ramirez the six figure amount he demanded to settle this case,” Cordova said in an e-mail.
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.
Records show the alleged violation happened Feb. 1, 2007. That case was dismissed after Ramirez paid Cal Poly $2,569.13 in a civil compromise.
Information about the criminal investigation but not the court proceedings or result of the case was allowed into the civil trial by Judge Charles Crandall, said Cordova, who attended the trial as an observer.
Lawyers Lorena Penaloza and Susan Westhover represented the CSU as trial attorneys.
Grover Beach attorney David Hagan argued on behalf of Ramirez. Hagan didn’t return a call Thursday afternoon for comment.