Two Los Angeles police officers were awarded $2 million after a jury determined the LAPD supervisors retaliated against the pair for complaining about meeting alleged traffic ticket quotas, according to the Los Angeles Times. The two previously rejected a $500,000 settlement.
The two veteran motorcycle officers of the department’s West Traffic Division claimed they were punished with bogus performance reviews after failing to meet citation quotas. The two sued the department back in 2009 accusing the department of harassment and using threats of reassignment and wrongful termination after they objected to demands from commanding officers. The officers were allegedly instructed to write a certain number of tickets and violations each day, which breaks state laws.
Our Orange County Employment Lawyers understand that while many types of employment positions are considered at-will — meaning either the employee or employer can terminate a working relationship at any time — employees are still protected against many forms of discrimination, including race, age and sex. In this case, the officers were ordered by their supervisors to issue a specific number of tickets per work day — something that is strictly against state law.
The determining factors between pushing your officers to increase productivity and setting an actual quota are fuzzy for field supervisors as they’re often under pressure to generate more citations. Still, employee positions cannot be threatened for not meeting department generated goals when those goals include illegal quotas.
Although the two claimed to be ranked against other officers based on the number of cars impounded and tickets issued, both violations of state law, the department denied in testimony that there had been any sort of instructed quota presented to the men. The defendants claim there must have been confusion over the difference of a “goal” and a “quota.”
In the end, 11 of the 12 jurors sided with the officers, agreeing that the failure to meet these quotas affected their careers after the two reported the misconduct and harassment of their supervisors.
“You can’t violate the law to enforce the law,” City Councilman Dennis Zine, a former LAPD motorcycle sergeant, said. “You can’t mandate the number of tickets.”
If you need to speak to an Orange County employment attorney about an issue of discrimination, sexual harassment, wage dispute, or a violation of worker’s rights, contact the Employment Law Team for a confidential consultation to discuss your rights. Call (877) 529-4545. Serving Santa Ana, Ontario, Riverside and the entire Los Angeles area.