Just another day in paradise in Los Angeles… Unless you happen to be an employer. Continuing the recent spate of multi-million dollar verdicts, an LA jury awarded a former police officer $7 million on her sex discrimination claim.

Lili Hadsell, a former police chief for the City of Baldwin Park, alleged that she was subjected to sex discrimination over her 14 years of service. The alleged discrimination came in part from comments by other officers to her subordinates such as “a woman cannot do this [chief of police] job” and comments from members of the department such as “I’m not going to call that woman police chief.” Hadsell also alleged that her Peruvian ethnicity was mocked by officers. When Hadsell was fired (allegedly without cause), she received a text from the mayor that said, “It was retaliation no doubt!!”

The jury found for Hadsell, returning a verdict against the city for $7 million. As we’ve seen, private employers are regularly subject to huge jury verdicts in Los Angeles. This case shows that not even cities are immune from the unpredictable and extraordinary jury verdicts that come out of Los Angeles County.

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Photo of Tony Oncidi Tony Oncidi

Anthony J. Oncidi heads the Labor & Employment Law Group in the Los Angeles office.

Tony represents employers and management in all aspects of labor relations and employment law, including litigation and preventive counseling, wage and hour matters, including class actions, wrongful termination, employee discipline, Title VII and the California Fair Employment and Housing Act, executive employment contract disputes, sexual harassment training and investigations, workplace violence, drug testing and privacy issues, Sarbanes-Oxley claims and employee raiding and trade secret protection. A substantial portion of Tony’s practice involves the defense of employers in large class actions, employment discrimination, harassment and wrongful termination litigation in state and federal court as well as arbitration proceedings, including FINRA matters.

Photo of Cole Lewis Cole Lewis

Cole Lewis is an associate in the Labor & Employment Department.

Cole graduated from UCLA School of Law, where he worked as a law clerk for Public Counsel of Los Angeles and advocated for benefit recipients in the Department of Public Social Services. He has also previously worked as a summer associate in Proskauer’s Labor & Employment Department.

Prior to law school, Cole received his Bachelor’s degree in Journalism at Indiana University, where he graduated cum laude.