Roberts v. Hayward Unified School District

In September 2019, Joseph Urbanic and Richard Jacobson won a unanimous verdict in this race and age discrimination case.

Dr. Charles Roberts sued the Hayward Unified School District for race discrimination, age discrimination, failure to prevent discrimination, and wrongful termination in violation of public policy. The plaintiff, a 48-year-old African American man, was the Chief Facilities Officer at the defendant school district from 2015 through 2017. His position was eliminated and he was laid off in August 2017 during a reorganization. The plaintiff contended that his position was eliminated and he was told not to reapply because the district was looking for 'fresh ideas,' which he believed meant the district wanted someone younger for the new positions. Dr. Roberts also contended that he was told not to reapply because of his race. Defendant Hayward Unified School District argued that Dr. Roberts's position was eliminated due to a reorganization to save costs and increase efficiency, and that Dr. Roberts was told he would likely not be re-hired if he applied for the new positions due to performance issues connected to his running of the district’s Measure L Bond Program. Dr. Roberts withdrew the age discrimination cause of action at the close of evidence after the Court advised that it was inclined to grant the District’s Motion for Judgment on that claim. The plaintiff was seeking lost wages from August 2017 to the present and future wages due to his inability to find alternate employment. He also sought damages associated with emotional distress. The final demand was $1,300,000.