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Jury Awards $3.6 Million In Damages Against Palo Verde Union School District In Favor Of Former Principal/ Superintendent

September 30, 2021

This is the largest verdict in an employment law case in Tulare County history

VISALIA, CA—Brock and Gonzales, LLP

A unanimous jury awarded former Palo Verde Union School District Principal/Superintendent, Ernie Flores, $3,625,752 in a retaliation case brought against Palo Verde Union School District.

While at Palo Verde Union Elementary School, Mr. Flores made a complaint to the school board that it was discriminating against a job applicant on the basis of the applicant’s race. Mr. Flores was later removed from his job in February 2018, on the basis of anonymous complaints that he spoke Spanish to students and played Latin music throughout the school during breaks. One complaint read, “Also, someone please remind him we are in America and that if he’s going to play music that we would like it to be in English and not in Spanish,” and another stated, “Morning announcements by Flores continue with ‘mijo/mija’ and it needs to Stop already.”

Notably, the students within the Palo Verde Union School District are predominantly Hispanic, and many learned Spanish as their first language. During Mr. Flores’ tenure as Principal, student enrollment increased, and the school was financially sound. No one on the school board previously expressed any problem with Mr. Flores’ job performance.

“This verdict sends a message that the good people of Tulare County will not stand for discriminatory or retaliatory employment practices in their public schools. We thank the jurors
who listened, and provided justice to Mr. Flores,” said Mr. Flores’ attorney, Aaron Brock.

Mr. Flores’ trial team included Aaron Brock, Lee Cirsch, Lindsay Bowden of Brock & Gonzales, LLP

About Brock and Gonzales, LLP

Brock & Gonzales LLP is a California full-service employment law and personal injury law firm with offices in Los Angeles, Oakland and Sacramento. The firm is committed to protecting the rights of employees and ensuring that individuals seriously injured by the negligence of others are fairly compensated for all the harm they have suffered. This firm’s mission is to give clients the opportunity to stand up to their wrongdoers in the only forum where everyone is equal — the courtroom

Erica Allen Gonzales, Brock & Gonzales, LLP
[email protected], 310-294-9595

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