L.A. Department of Water and Power (DWP) is facing a harassment and discrimination lawsuit from an employee. Saiara Shams filed the lawsuit in L.A. Superior Court alleging she was the target of derogatory comments about her religion made by co-workers. She also alleged that her co-workers retaliated after she reported wasteful contracts and that she was blocked from promotions at the company.
Shams claims she was the victim of a years-long campaign of harassment, retaliation and discrimination in the workplace. A spokesman from the company, DWP, refused to comment other than to state that litigation was pending, and they take any allegation of discrimination seriously. Other DWP cited in the lawsuit did go on record publicly regarding the lawsuit: Ana Romero, Henry Williams, Zebbra Corbin, and Glenn Barry.
Shams was born in Bangladesh but moved to California in 1997 and became an American citizen in 2000. She was employed by DWP on their team managing the power grid. She was the only Muslim woman in the department. Romero, cited earlier, was her supervisor. Romero allegedly made fun of her accent, made comparisons between her and Islamic terrorists, advised her to take an English writing class because she wasn’t US-born, and openly voiced her regret over not hiring a Latinx person.
Romero, according to court documents and an interview with The Times, allegedly made fun of Shams’ accent, compared her to Islamic terrorists, told her she “needed to take an English writing class because she was not born in the U.S,” and lamented that she would have rather hired a Latinx employee. Shams claims that the harassment and discrimination escalated with other employees getting involved. The comments began to come more frequently if there was a terrorist attack.
Shams claims that she reported the behavior repeatedly, but that management at DWP did not stop or punish those who were involved in the harassment, discrimination and retaliation.
If you need to file a discrimination lawsuit, please get in touch with Blumenthal Nordrehaug Bhowmik De Blouw LLP, our employment law attorneys have the resources and experience companies fear in litigation. Let us help you protect your rights as a California employee.