Former Caltrans Employee Files Lawsuit Alleging Rampant Racism in the Workplace

San Diego, CA – A former employee of the California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) has filed a lawsuit alleging racial discrimination in the workplace. Angel Saucedo claims that he and other Hispanic employees were subjected to regular mistreatment, specifically by one white supervisor who allegedly used derogatory language and engaged in discriminatory behavior. The lawsuit, filed in San Diego Superior Court, accuses Caltrans of failing to investigate or discipline the supervisor despite multiple complaints. Saucedo’s attorneys state that the lawsuit aims to shed light on the alleged racism and protect other Caltrans workers from similar treatment.

According to the lawsuit, Saucedo’s supervisor referred to Hispanic employees as “the brownie boys” and distributed mock credit cards labeled “White Privilege.” Saucedo himself received one of these cards when he requested a credit card for gas expenses. These allegations were made public during a news conference, where Saucedo’s attorney emphasized the repeated and egregious acts of racism that his client endured throughout his time at Caltrans.

The lawsuit claims that Saucedo reported the discriminatory behavior to other Caltrans supervisors but no action was taken. Instead, Saucedo was allegedly advised to “not make trouble,” suggesting that such conduct was tolerated within the department. Saucedo’s attorney, John Gomez, criticized Caltrans for their failure to address the situation and stated that the lawsuit seeks justice for Saucedo and protection for other Hispanic and Latino co-workers who may be experiencing similar racism and bullying.

While Caltrans chose not to comment on the litigation, Saucedo expressed disappointment with the work environment he encountered. He described his experience as a “dream career” turned nightmare, noting the prevalence of racism, toxicity, hostility, and retaliation. The lawsuit seeks damages for lost income, as well as compensation for the psychological and emotional distress suffered by Saucedo.

Furthermore, the lawsuit alleges that Saucedo faced retaliation for his complaints. He was reportedly given assignments that put him in harm’s way, including a dangerous incident where he was tasked with placing traffic cones on a busy freeway without a traffic break, narrowly avoiding being struck by vehicles. Saucedo’s attorney, Emilia Arutunian, revealed that prior to filing the lawsuit, she advised Saucedo to file a complaint with Caltrans’ Human Resources department in the hopes of resolving the issue. However, no action was taken against the supervisor as a result of this complaint.

The lawsuit highlights a significant challenge faced by Saucedo and other Caltrans employees who experience racial discrimination and suggests that the department must address and rectify these issues to ensure a safe and inclusive work environment.