Wednesday, May 23 , 2018, 2:46 am | Fair 56º


Local News

Jury Awards $431,000 to Former ADMHS Employee

Lawsuit accuses former supervisors of unlawful termination and discrimination

A jury has awarded Heidi Garcia, a former employee for Santa Barbara County Alcohol, Drug, and Mental Health Services, $431,000 in damages based on her claims that she was unlawfully fired and discriminated against by her supervisors in the department.

Garcia alleged her firing was the result of discrimination based on her race and gender from her supervisors, former directors James Broderick and Douglas Barton.

She also alleged that her firing was brought about after she confronted Broderick about a potential conflict of interest: his involvement on the board of directors at the Casa Esperanza homeless center, which benefited from county funding.

As a result, Garcia said, she was excluded from e-mail chains, projects and meetings, and was discriminated against because of her gender.

Throughout the case, the county alleged that Garcia was the cause of many of the department’s well-documented fiscal woes.

A jury verified Garcia’s claims and awarded her $236,000 in lost earnings, $150,000 for emotional distress and $45,000 in future lost earnings.

Noozhawk staff writer Lara Cooper can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

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