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Janet K. MCGinnis, State Bar No.1 08953
Attorney at Law
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201 East Figueroa Street
Santa Barbara, CA 93101
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Phone: (805)963-1865
Fax: (805) 456-7963
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Attorney for Heidi Anna Garcia
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SUPERIOR OF THE STATE OF CALIFORNIA
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COUNTY OF SANTA BARBARA
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HEIDI ANNA GARCIA,
Plaintiff,
vs.
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COUNTY OF SANTA BARBARA,
Defendant.
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ANACAPA DIVISION
Case No. 1302216
FIRST AMENDED COMPLAINT FOR:
(1 ) DISCRIMINATORY TERMINATION:
(2) RETALIATORY TERMINATION:
(3) FAILURE TO PREVENT
DISCRIMINATION, HARASSMENT,
AND RETALIATION;
(4) FAILURE TO INVESTIGATE
COMPLAINTS OR REMEDIATE
DISCRIMINATION, HARASSMENT,
AND RETALIATION; AND
(5) RETALIATION AND TERMINATION IN
VIOLATION OF SECTION 1102.5 OF
THE LABOR CODE
WITH EXHIBIT A
Filed: August 14.2008
Assigned to Hon. T.P. Anderle ~ Department 3
FIRST AMENDED COMPLAINT
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COMES NOW Heidi Anna Garcia (hereafter "Garcia") alleging for each cause of action:
2 I. All material complained of acts and omissions occurred in Santa Barbara.
3 California by employees of the County of Santa Barbara ("County") acting within the course and
4 scope of their County employment. References to "County" in this pleading comprise all known
and unknown and identified and unidentified County employees, managers, and executives
6 whose actions and omissions give rise to this lawsuit and Garcia's harm and damages.
7 2. County is organized and exists pursuant to the laws of the state of California and
8 has its principal place of business in Santa Barbara County, California.
9 3. Throughout her employment with County, Garcia was an executive and not in the
classified service. Throughout her employment with the County, Garcia was an assistant directo
II of Alcohol, Drug and Mental Health Services (hereafter "ADMHS").
12 4. In 2002 Garcia was recruited and hired by County as the Assistant Director of
13 Mental Health Programs in ADMHS. She had earned a bachelor's degree in psychology and
14 master's degree in clinical psychology and was a licensed marriage and family therapist. In 2003
she earned a postgraduate certificate in mental health leadership from the University of Southern
16 California's School of Policy, Planning, and Development. At the time she was hired by County,
17 Garcia had thirty years of mental health administrative, managerial, and clinical experience and
18 training in the private and public sectors.
19 5. Throughout her employment, the relationship between County and Garcia was
within the jurisdiction of the California Fair Employment and Housing Act ("FEHA") and the
21 California Labor Code, specifically, but not limited to, sections 232.5 and 1102.5.
22 6. At all material times, Michael F. Brown (hereafter "Brown") was chief executive
officer and was responsible for, involved in, influenced, and controlled decisions and omissions
24 in ADMHS concerning Garcia and within other material County departments and divisions,
including Human Resources and County's Equal Employment Opportunity Office ("EEO").
26 7. At all material times, Susan Paul (hereafter "Paul") was assistant chief executive
27 officer and human resources director and was responsible for, involved in, influenced, and
28 controlled decisions and omissions in ADMHS concerning Garcia and within other material
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County departments and divisions, including Human Resources and County EEO.
2 8. At all material times, Brown and Paul directed and approved complained of acts
3 and omissions to the extent that they did not themselves act or fail to act. all to Garcia's harm
4 and causing her damages complained of herein.
9. From the start of her employment in 2002 and until March 2007, James L.
6 Broderick, Ph.D. (hereafter "Broderick") was director of ADMHS. In that capacity, he was
7 Garcia's supervisor; however, by the time that Garcia was demoted in May 2007 and terminated
8 in July 2007, Broderick had resigned.
9 10. Before Broderick resigned in March 2007, he and Brown selected and appointed
Douglas C. Barton (hereafter "Barton") to be interim director of ADMHS. In appointing him,
1 1 Broderick introduced Barton to the county supervisors and public as Broderick's "good friend of
12 twenty years."
13 11. At all material times, Refugio Rodriguez (hereafter "Refugio") was an ADMHS
14 manager, supervised by Broderick and later Barton.
12. Al Rodriguez (hereafter "Rodriguez") managed the Department of Alcohol &
16 Drug Program (ADP), and then became assistant director of ADMHS. At all material times he
17 was supervised by Broderick and later Barton.
18 13. Throughout her employment with County, only Broderick evaluated Garcia's
19 performance, and in all of her written performance evaluations rated her 4.5 on a scale of 5.
Broderick's last performance evaluation of Garcia occurred before she had filed her complaints
21 against him and Refugio.
22 14. Before being appointed interim ADMHS director, Barton had worked under
23 Garcia's and others' direction and supervision as an independent contractor for ADMHS, but his
24 contract had been terminated for performance deficits.
15. Before and throughout Garcia's County employment, Broderick and Brown had a
26 special and confidential relationship. which was recounted from time to time by Broderick tn
27 Garcia, including during timcs when Brown was subject of public criticism and controversy for
28 his racist, sexist, discriminatory, and insensitive statements and actions towards County
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employees and his discriminatory and retaliatory firing of the personnel director, Ann Goodrich.
2 16. In and after 2005 and until she was terminated in July 2007. Garcia's workplace
3 became increasingly hostile, discriminatory. harassing, retaliatory, and abusive as a result of the
4 actions and omissions of her immediate supervisors and other County employees, managers, and
executives towards her and others. In response to continuing misfeasance and an increasingly
6 hostile workplace and retaliation, Garcia made oral complaints and filed written complaints with
7 County Human Resources and EEO against Broderick, Refugio, Paul, and Barton.
8 17. At and about the same time, in addition to complaining to County EEO about
9 discriminatory and harassing conduct by Broderick towards her, Garcia advised Broderick
directly that he had or appeared to have Government Code section 1090 cont1icts with adverse
11 implications for County and ADMHS. At or about this time, Brown, Broderick, and county
12 counsel were investigating one or more ADMHS contractors for 1090 conflicts, but Broderick
13 had not declared his own conflict and Brown and county counsel were not investigating
14 Broderick. In response to her warnings, Broderick later informed Garcia that he had stepped
down from the organization's board that caused his 1090 conflicts with his position as the
16 County staff person responsible for approving and executing ADMHS contracts with that
17 organization.
18 18. In whole or in part, Garcia's November 2006 complaints against Broderick and
19 Refugio and subsequent complaints against Broderick. Refugio, Paul, and Barton alleged
discrimination, harassment, retaliation, and failure to investigate her complaints, to prevent
21 continuing misconduct, and to remediate violations, all contrary to County's obligations under
22 FEHA and to adopted and promulgated County policies and practices.
23 19. In response to her complaints, Garcia was chastised by Broderick and increasingly
24 retaliated against by Brown, Broderick, Barton, Brown. Paul, Marianne Garrity ("Garrity") who
was Barton's assistant, and Refugio. Her repeated and continuing requests for an external
26 investigation and for an outside mediator to resolve her complaints were rejected and criticized.
27 20. Garcia's complaints were not investigated in a timely way or at all and no
28 remedial actions were taken at any time during her employment. No investigation result was
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ever reported to her. In response to her complaints, County did not follow its promulgated
2 policies and practices or comply with its duties under FEHA.
3 21. Garcia is and was under no obligation to exhaust any County administrative
4 remedies. She was never told by County EEO or any agent of County at any time that she shoul
take any action she had not taken after she had filed, written, or spoken her complaints to
6 relevant County officers.
7 22. While her complaints were pending without investigation or remediation or
8 reporting back to her, and while retaliation continued and escalated in response to her
9 complaints, immediatelly upon his being named interim director in March 2007, Barton called
Garcia into his office to meet with him and Garrity. During the meeting, they treated Garcia
11 with hostility and disrespect and their discussion focused on a document which Barton claimed
12 was from Brown, specifically, his County Contract Scope of Work. Brandishing this document
13 before Garcia, Barton told her it was Brown's direction for him to reorganize ADMHS.
14 23. Garcia was alarmed and distressed by Barton's and Garrity's tone, demeanor, and
manifest hostility towards her and their disinterest in her ideas. Garcia knew of Brown's
16 personal biases, and his history of misconduct towards employees, including and especially
17 toward employees complaining about discrimination or harassment or retaliation, and his
18 personal and confidential relationship with Broderick. She already had concerns about and had
19 previously complained about being marginalized, threatened, defamed, and prevented from
performing her function; now, she had confirmation that Brown and Paul were directing Barton
21 to retaliate against her for having complained about Broderick, Refugio, and Paul.
22 24. Experiencing significant emotional and mental distress as a result of her
23 workplace conditions before and after filing her complaints against Broderick, Refugio, and
24 PauL and seeking to mitigate harm to herself, her family, and her career, Garcia decided that she
needed to try to take steps to protect her professional career and employment. Broderick had
26 resigned and would no longer be her supervisor. Her complaint had not been investigated and 11C)
27 action had been taken. Garcia withdrew her complaint about Broderick, hoping to thereby
28 persuade Brown, Paul, and Barton that she was loyal and committed to ADMHS.
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25. Garcia could not withdraw her complaint against Refugio, however, because he
2 remained on the job. No investigation or remedial action or reporting of any investigator;.
3 conclusions had occurred, and he continued to harass, discriminate, and retaliate against her and
4 to harass and discriminate against other females in the workplace. As an ADMHS executive, she
felt that she was obliged to do all that she could to promote a lawful workplace and to prevent his
6 harassment, abuse, and retaliation towards her and others.
7 26. Although she filed her first EEO complaints in November 2006, reported
8 Broderick's 1090 problems in December 2006, and complained continuously thereafter about
9 retaliation by Pau!' Broderick, Barton, and Refugio for having filed the complaints, nothing was
done to investigate or correct offending and unlawful conduct that continued and had occurred
1 1 and no report was made to indicate that any evaluation was made of her complaints.
12 27. Rather, the County's response to her complaints was to demote her in May 2007
13 and to terminate her in .July 2007.
14 28. Garcia's demotion and termination were justified as "reorganization" of ADMHS
and to take ADMHS in a new direction," but these were pretexts or untrue and deceptive
16 reasons, intentionally stated to mask the substantial motivation to punish her for having made
17 oral and written complaints about Broderick, Refugio, PauL and Barton.
18 29. Indeed, Brown has admitted to others that Garcia had to be terminated because
19 she filed complaints, consistent with his history, pattern. and practice of punishing complaining
executives and managers who oppose biased, intolerant, harassing, discriminatory, and
21 retaliatory workplaces in the County.
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Garcia was at all times and in all respects qualified for her position and had
23 performed her duties competently and diligently throughout her employment with County,
24 receiving only positive commendations and performance reviews.
31. In contrast, County discriminated and retaliated against Garcia by demoting and
26 terminating her and selecting Rodriguez to replace her, a male lacking objective and comparable
27 qualifications for the position, including in his education, credentials, experience, training. and
28 performance. Moreover, Rodriguez has telling experience and history which commended him to
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County and made him preferable to Garcia. Rodriguez can be counted on to not complain
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about, correct, investigate, or prevent discrimination, harassment, and retaliation and he can be
3 counted on to support whatever actions County managers and executives decide to take, despite
4 the illegality or impropriety or inadequacy of their actions and omissions and decisions.
32. Through its managers and executives, the County passed over Garcia for
6 Rodriguez, who had been found responsible in his prior job for sexual harassment and failure to
7 prevent harassment or retaliation, which history was known to County when it appointed him.
8 Despite knowing this history, County selected and employed him and then favored him over
9 Garcia, placing him in her former position, for which she was eminently more qualified, and then
demoting her to his former position.
11 33. Further evidence that the departmental reorganization was mere pretext for
12 Garcia's demotion, and that "going in a new direction" was mere pretext for her termination and
13 that she was being discriminated against because of her gender and complaints, is shown by the
14 elimination of Rodriguez's position, to which Garcia had been demoted when he was given her
position. Within days of her termination, the position to which she had been demoted, which
16 was Rodriguez's fonner position, was eliminated and replaced by a manager. Previously, this
17 position had been specially turned into an executive position for Rodriguez, but was then turned
18 back into a manager position after Garcia was demoted to it and then terminated.
19 34. Further evidence of the discriminatory, retaliatory, and pretextual nature of
"reorganization" and "going in a new direction" as excuses for Garcia's demotion and
21 termination is that Garcia was the only one of the five ADMHS executives who Brown and
22 Barton terminated: all the others were given other positions in the department. Garcia was
23 offered no alternative placement at the time of termination or ever.
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35. This action is brought pursuant to FEHA. the corresponding regulations ofthe
California Fair Employment and Housing Commission, and the California Labor Code.
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36. Garcia filed a Government Code claim and it was denied February 14. 200R.
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37. Garcia timely filed complaints with the California Department of Fair
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Employment and Housing (hereafter "DFEH") against County and various executives and
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managers, citing harassment, discrimination, retaliation, and failure to prevent, investigate, or
2 remediate violations. An accurate copy of her complaint against County is attached heretu as
3 Exhibit A and incorporated by this reference. Garcia timely and personally served the complaint
4 on County.
38. Garcia received a Notice of Right to Sue from DFEH, which was also served on
6 County with her FEHA complaint.
7 39. County. through one or more of its managers and executives, discriminated
8 against Garcia, because of her gender and because she stated oral or filed written complaints wit
9 County and its managers or executives. Her complaints about discrimination were specified in
her DFEH complaint. The allegations specified in her DFEH complaint (Exhibit A) are
11 incorporated by this reference as though set forth in total.
12 40. County, through one or more of its managers and executives, harassed Garcia
13 because of her gender or because she had stated oral or filed written discrimination, harassment,
14 and retaliation complaints with County and its managers or executives. Her complaints about
harassment are specified in her DFEH complaint, which is Exhibit A, and its allegations are
16 incorporated by this reference as though set forth in total.
17 41. County, through one or more of its managers and executives, retaliated against
18 Garcia, because of her gender or because she had filed oral or written discrimination and
19 retaliation complaints with County EEO about Broderick, Refugio, Barton, and Paul. The
retaliation occurred over a period of time and included, but was not limited to, creating a hostile
21 and abusive workplace, marginalization, defamation, demotion, and termination, as described in
22 the complaint filed with DFEH, which is Exhibit A.
23 42. County's conduct, through one or more of its managers and executives,
24 constitutes an unlawful employment practice in violation of FEHA and sections 232.5 and
1102.5 of the Labor Code.
26 43. As a direct and foreseeable result of County's discriminatory, harassing, and
27 retaliatory acts, Garcia has incurred and suffered and continues to incur and suffer substantial
28 losses in earnings and job benefits and has suffered and continues to suffer humiliation,
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embarrassment, mental and emotional distress, and discomfort, all to her damage in an amount
2 within the jurisdiction of this court, the precise amount of which will be proven at trial.
3 44. As a further direct and foreseeable result of County's unlawful and intentional
4 actions against Garcia resulting in her wrongful termination, she has been harmed insofar as she
has suffered consequential losses of employment-related opportunities. which she would have
6 garnered with increased experience and training in the position from which she was terminated
7 and possible promotion within County. She has suffered consequential losses of enhanced
8 employee benefits, job security, earnings, and pension, which would have been provided by her
9 longer service tenure, training and experience, and promotion had she not been wrongfully
terminated.
11 FIRST CAUSE OF ACTION
12 Discriminatory Termination in Violation of FEHA
13 45. County's actions in terminating Garcia constituted a discriminatory termination in
14 violation of subsection (a) of section 12940 of the California Government Code. By this action,
Garcia seeks back pay, front pay, reinstatement, compensatory and general damages, and
16 attorney fees and costs of suit.
17 46. County's demotion of and termination of Garcia's employment constituted
18 disparate treatment in violation of FEHA in that County intentionally terminated her because of
19 her acts in opposition to gender discrimination and retaliation for making complaints.
21 SECOND CAUSE OF ACTION
22 Retaliatory Termination in Violation of FEHA
23 47. County's actions in terminating Garcia constituted a retaliatory termination in
24 violation of subsection (h) of section 12940 of the California Government Code. By this action.
Garcia seeks back pay, front pay, reinstatement, compensatory and general damages, and
26 attorney fees and costs of suit.
27 Iii III
28 Iii III
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THIRD CAUSE OF ACTION
2 Failure to Prevent Discrimination, Harassment, and Retaliation in Violation of FEHA
3 48. County's actions and omissions in and after Garcia's first complaints in
4 November 2006 were in violation of subsection (k) of section 12940 of the California
Government Code. In failing to prevent discrimination. harassment, and retaliation, County
6 caused and allowed Garcia to be sUbjected to unlawful conditions in her workplace and work
7 environment, and to retaliation and wrongful termination. entitling her to recover her back pay.
8 front pay. reinstatement, compensatory and general damages, and attorney fees and costs of suit.
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FOURTH CAUSE OF ACTION
II Failure to Complaints and Remediate Discrimination, Harassment, and
12 Retaliation in Violation of FEHA
13 49. County's actions and omissions in and after November 2006 were in violation of
14 subsection (k) of section 12940 ofthe California Government Code. In failing to investigate her
complaints and to remediate complained of conditions, County caused and allowed Garcia' s
16 wrongful termination, entitling her to recover her back pay, front pay, reinstatement,
17 compensatory and general damages, and attorney fees and costs of suit.
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19 FIFTH CAUSE OF ACTION
Retaliation and Termination in Violation of Section 1102.5 of the Labor Code
21 50. No California employer, including County. may require any employee to refrain
22 from disclosing information about the employee' s working conditions under section 232.5 of the
23 Labor Code. Tn their criticism of, retaliation against, demotion of, and then termination of
24 Garcia for making her complaints about her and others' working conditions, County violated
section 232.5.
26 51. No California employer, including County, may retaliate against an employee for
27 disclosing infonnation when the employee has reasonable cause to believe that the information
28 discloses a violation of any state or federal statute, rule, or regulation.
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52. At all material times, based on what she saw, heard, and experienced and her
2 thirty years of experience and training in California public and private employment sectors,
3 Garcia had cause to believe and did believe that County employees, managers, and executives
4 were acting in violation of FEHA. At all material times, her complaints were protected conduct
within the meaning of section 1102.5 of the Labor Code.
6 53. Through its executives, managers, and other employees, County actions against
7 her and others and its actions and omissions in response to her complaints, including, but not
8 limited to, retal iation and failure to prevent, investigate, or remediate complained of actions were
9 unlawful and violated the County's statutory duties towards her and other employees. County's
actions and omissions also violated County standards and procedures.
11 54. Garcia's reports to her County supervisors, managers, and County EEO.
12 constituted reports to a government agency.
13 55. Garcia's complaints were protected activities under section 1102.5 of the Labor
14 Code for which she should not have been terminated or demoted. Garcia's wrongful demotion
and termination in violation of section 1102.5 have caused her special and general damages for
16 which County is liable under sections 1105 and 1106 of the Labor Code.
17 56. County's course of conduct against Garcia in response to her complaints effected
18 multiple violations of section 1102.5, entitling Garcia to civil penalties of $1 0,000 for each
19 violation as may be proved at trial, pursuant to subsection (f) of section 1102.5.
21 WHEREFORE, Garcia prays for judgment against County:
22 I. for back pay, including all benefits and pension accrual. from the date of
23 termination to the date of judgment;
24 2. for front pay. including all benefits and pension accrual, for the period from the
date ofjudgment to the date that Garcia actually reaches a position with earnings equivalent to
26 those she would have received from County had she continued to work for County and she been
27 compensated by County as required, instead of being terminated as a result of County's unlawful
28 intent;
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3. for compensatory damages according to proof;
2 4. for reinstatement in her position or a comparable position;
3 5. for civil penalties of $1 0,000 for each violation of section 1102.5 of the Labor
4 Code according to proof;
6. for costs of suit including reasonable attorney fees and expert fees:
6 7. for contingency fee enhancement beyond the lodestar;
7 8. for prejudgment interest; and
8 9. for such other relief as the Court deems proper.
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Dated: September 22, 2008 LAW OFFICE OF JANET K. MCGINNIS
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By __________________~ - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Janet K. MCGinnis
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Attorney for Heidi Anna Garcia
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