Sacramento County employee found “KKK” on her desk in 2016, files lawsuit

Robert J Hansen

2017 lawsuit set for trial if settlement cannot be negotiated

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Sacramento County Administration building(Photo by Robert J Hansen)

Sacramento, Calif.- by Robert J Hansen

An employee with the Department of Human Assistance, is scheduled for a settlement conference next week in a 2017 lawsuit against the County of Sacramento according to court documents.

Delores Smith is one of several former or current employees of DHA that are suing the County for discrimination and harassment.

Smith is sueing Sacramento County for Race Discrimination, Disability Discrimination, Failure to Prevent Discrimination, Retaliation and other violations.

Smith began her employment with DHA on or about March 11, 2013 and consistently received positive performance evaluations according to court records.

In December 2016, Smith found a flyer on her desk with the word "KKK" written on the back. 

She immediately reported the incident to her supervisor, Anna Dimitroglo, who dismissed the incident as a joke. 

She also reported the conversation to Jennifer Nicolas, Senior Personnel Analyst, Department of Personnel Services.

Smith immediately filed two formal complaints, one for race discrimination and the other for workplace violence.

Smith immediately suspected that a coworker, Aurora Lim, might be involved in the incident who in 2014, falsely accused Smith of being a "racist" and "bully." 

In 2016, six months before the incident, Lim falsely accused Smith of harassing her and experienced emotional distress after hearing Lim's complaints against her. 

Lim's complaints against Smith were baseless and dismissed with no disciplinary action taken against Smith. 

Lim also filed meritiess complaints against other Afiican-American employees.

The incident and the subsequent investigation created a hostile work environment causing Smith extreme emotional and physical distress. 

Smith  felt that the County was not taking her complaints seriously and in January 2017, sought mental health counseling due to the insomnia and anxiety she was experiencing.

The County continues to discriminate and harass Smith and was only informed of her workers' compensation eligibility by an employee with the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH).

Smith called a County Compensation Examiner about the eligibility of her claim who stated that 50 percent of her caseload is Afiican-American employees claiming stress.

The county examiner then told Smith without solicitation that she believed the incident was “probably a joke.”

The County also retaliated against Smith by taking away a promotion because she took disability leave. 

In July 2016 she was accepted into a new Afiican-American youth program located at Liberty Towers Church. and the new classification as a "skilled worker " with higher wages and benefits. 

The position was delayed until the church could find office space which took until May 2017.

Smith was then informed that because she was out on disability leave, another employee was hired to replace her position in the program permanently. 

Smith also had her "skilled worker” classification withdrawn as well as the position's additional wages and benefits.

A civil trial is scheduled in January 2022 if a settlement is not negotiated.

This reporting relies strictly on publicly available court documents.

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Robert J Hansen is an investigative journalist and economist. Focused on holding elected officials, police and the courts accountable to the people throughout the greater Sacramento area.

Sacramento, CA
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