A former security guard settles his lawsuit against Terranea Resort

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TORRANCE, Calif. — A white security guard has settled a lawsuit he filed against an upscale hotel in Rancho Palos Verdes, in which he alleged he was fired in 2020 for complaining of discrimination and racist comments from Latino colleagues, including “I don’t like white people.”

Craig Bruss’ allegations in Torrance Superior Court against Terranea Resort included wrongful termination, intentional infliction of emotional distress, racial discrimination and harassment, retaliation, and negligent hiring, supervision and retention. Lawyers in the case told Judge Gary Y. Tanaka at a mediation progress conference on Thursday that the case was settled. No terms were disclosed.

The station previously released a statement regarding the 41-year-old Torrance man’s allegations.

“Terranea Resort is unable to comment on pending litigation,” the statement said. “We are certain however that any alleged accusation in this matter is baseless and baseless, and will be proven in court.

“Terranea takes all staff feedback and concerns very seriously, as part of our ongoing efforts to ensure our associates have a workplace where they feel valued, respected and safe. Terranea has a zero tolerance policy at against unlawful harassment of any kind.Every individual deserves to be treated with respect, dignity and courtesy.Since we opened our doors in 2009, Terranea has worked diligently to build a reputation as both a premier resort plan that takes care of its customers and an excellent employer that provides a positive and rewarding work environment for its employees,” the statement continued.

In her court papers, defense attorney Cynthia J. Emry said the resort had “legitimate, non-discriminatory reasons for plaintiff’s termination.”

The lawsuit alleged that Bruss, hired in June 2018, was subjected to a racially hostile work environment that included disparaging comments from Latino employees about white people, the lawsuit says. The remarks were often accompanied by glares, glares, and other threatening behavior.

Bruss was asked, “What color are you?” And a Latino worker repeatedly said, “I don’t like white people” as he stared at Bruss, according to the complaint filed in November 2020.

When an employee mentioned an upcoming wedding in front of a number of colleagues, a Latino employee reportedly said, “I don’t want to go if white people are going to be there” while staring at the complainant.

Bruss felt “ostracized and isolated” as Latino employees continued to make offensive remarks even after complaining to them, the lawsuit said. Bruss was also excluded from the conversations of other security officers in his department who spoke Spanish in his presence, according to the lawsuit.

Terranea’s work manual states that harassment, discrimination and retaliation in the workplace are prohibited, but the station instead allowed “toxic working conditions,” according to the lawsuit.

After an argument with a Latino colleague who allegedly yelled at the complainant and then lied to the director of security about what had happened, Bruss was cut from the work schedule when he returned from vacation in September 2019, according to the pursuit. Bruss believed that Terranea wanted to replace him with a less qualified Latino man who replaced him while he was on vacation.

In October 2019, Bruss recorded a conversation he had with the young Latino guard in which the co-worker confirmed another guard’s derogatory comments about white people, the lawsuit said.

Bruss then told his supervisor about his working conditions and told him about the recording, but the abuse continued, the suit says. Bruss later informed his boss of his suicidal feelings caused by the discrimination, isolation and disdain with which he was treated in the workplace, but the boss did nothing to correct the issues, according to the pursuit.

Bruss was suspended over the weekend of July 5-6, 2020, leaving him “shocked and appalled” that such a step had been taken, the lawsuit says. He was told later that month that he was fired for recording the conversation with the young Latino co-worker nine months earlier without the co-worker’s permission, according to the lawsuit.

Terranea argued the recording was against its policies, even though management had known about it for nearly a year and took no action, the lawsuit said.

Copyright 2022, City News Service, Inc.

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