Beginning in October 2003, a faculty member of Glendale Community College disseminated racially pernicious e-mails using a system-wide employee listserv. The messages also contained links to the faculty member’s personal web-page, which he maintained on the Maricopa County Community College District’s server. There, the employees encountered offensive and incendiary essays, articles, and links to other racist websites.

In November 2004, MALDEF filed a lawsuit representing a class of Latino employees of the Maricopa Community College District before the U.S. District Court in Arizona. The lawsuit alleged that the College created a hostile work environment and subjected the plaintiffs to discrimination in the workplace.

The District Court denied Defendants’ Motion for Summary Judgment, agreeing with Plaintiffs’ position that there are issues of material fact that must be resolved by a jury and the case should continue.

The individual defendants filed an appeal, challenging the court’s decision to permit the case to proceed against them. The trial court postponed the consideration of the case while the appeal is pending. This lawsuit defends the right of all employees to work in an environment where they are not subjected to racial discrimination.

Court Rejects Maricopa Community College District’s Motion To End Lawsuit

MALDEF represents class of Latino employees with employment discrimination claims

April 03, 2008

PHOENIX, AZ — Monday, the United States District Court for Arizona denied a motion filed by the Maricopa County Community College District, its Chancellor and Governing Board (MCCCD) to end a class action lawsuit brought against them by Latino employees. The Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund (MALDEF), which represents the plaintiffs in the case, urged the federal court to deny the motion because there was sufficient evidence to show that MCCCD failed to remedy a hostile work environment at the District. The Honorable Earl H. Carroll sided with MALDEF, finding that disposal of the case was inappropriate because there are disputed issues of fact that must be resolved by a jury.

The plaintiffs filed suit in November 2004 after a District professor sent through an employee distribution list a series of racially charged emails targeting Latinos. MCCCD officials failed to take remedial action, despite repeated complaints from employees.

MALDEF Vice President of Litigation, Cynthia Valenzuela stated, “The court’s ruling today reaffirms our position that Latino employees who are subjected to workplace discrimination deserve their day in court.”

“This lawsuit is about dignity in the workplace,” said MALDEF Staff Attorney Diego Bernal. “Employers should not demand of their employees that they submit to racial hostility as part of their job,” added Bernal.