Jury Awards $1 Millon Dollars To Two Women In Racial Discrimination Lawsuit Against San Francisco Sheriff’s Department

by Gee NY

A jury has granted $1 million in damages to Danielle Dillard and Kim Lee, office clerks at the San Francisco Sheriff’s Department (SFSD), as part of their racial discrimination lawsuit filed in 2020.

The jury reached the decision on November 15, acknowledging the women’s claims of enduring racial slurs and discrimination throughout their more than 20-year tenure with SFSD.

Dillard and Lee asserted that they faced racial disparities and discriminatory treatment, with a supervisor instructing them not to discuss such matters and resorting to racial slurs.

In March 2019, both women received cease-and-desist orders, barring them from communicating with colleagues within SFSD and other city or county employees. Dillard was reassigned twice before these orders were imposed.

“I was just handed a paper and told to obey those rules,” expressed Dillard, describing the emotional toll it took on her. Lee shared similar sentiments, mentioning the impact on her friendships and emotional well-being. Additionally, Lee revealed being labeled a “liar,” “thief,” and “criminal” by white SFSD employees.

In 2020, Dillard and Lee initiated a lawsuit under the Fair Employment and Housing Act against SFSD. The jury awarded a total of $1,139,400, with Dillard receiving $523,400, and Lee receiving $616,000.

Their attorney, Angela Alioto, emphasized the significance of the victory, stating that the jury saw through the city’s pretexts and recognized the pervasive racism within SFSD.

Alioto characterized the outcome as a wake-up call that would bring attention to the mistreatment of Black individuals across various city departments.

The SFSD and the City Attorney’s Office released a joint statement expressing disappointment in the verdict and stating their commitment to evaluating the next steps. Despite the lawsuit’s conclusion, both Dillard and Lee continue their employment within the Warrants Division of SFSD.

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