The City of Vancouver, Washington announced yesterday that it will pay a former police officer $1.65 million to settle a federal retaliation and racial discrimination lawsuit he filed two years ago over his termination. To read the Oregonian’s coverage on the case, click here.
This isn’t plaintiff Navin Sharma’s first settlement with the city: he settled another race discrimination claim against the city in 2001 for $287,000. In the most recent lawsuit, Sharma claimed that his 2006 firing was in retaliation for his 2001 settlement. Vancouver admits no wrongdoing, but claims that the cost of a trial and keeping police officers in the courtroom for two or three weeks instead of performing their regular police duties promted the settlement decision.
Sharma’s attorneys are calling the settlement the Northwest’s largest-ever individual settlement for employment discrimination. We’ll never know for sure: most discrimination cases are settled privately and the terms are confidential. This settlement is public only because the ‘Couve is a public entity. In any event, it appears that the bar has been raised.