A San Fernando Superior Court jury Wednesday found Rockwell International guilty of wrongfully firing two black engineers who complained of racial discrimination but found that the corporation had not discriminated against the pair.
Industrial engineers Calvin Green, 42, and Johnnie Pulley, 43, alleged that they were fired in November, 1983, from jobs at the corporation’s Palmdale plant in retaliation for filing a racial discrimination grievance with the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.
A jury determined Wednesday that the firing of the two was a “retaliation termination” but found no racial discrimination.
“They’re very, very pleased,” said attorney J. Jeffrey Long, who represents the men. “Their concern was that they have been fired from jobs that they were very qualified to do and they felt they never should have been fired.”
In court, attorneys for Rockwell argued that the two were fired because they inflated the amount they had earned at Boeing Co. in their applications for jobs with Rockwell and that the company had a right to fire them for lying.
Rockwell declined to comment on the ruling.
“We’re still evaluating the decision and have no immediate reaction,” said Mike Mathews, a Rockwell spokesman.
Long said the allegation that they falsified employment applications was a pretext for the firing.
The jury will meet again Jan. 7 to determine damages.
Pulley and Green contend that their supervisor at Rockwell criticized them unnecessarily, gave them unreasonable work assignments and threatened them because they are black.
After being assigned a task to complete in what they said was an unreasonable amount of time, the two complained to a Rockwell personnel officer and later filed a grievance with the employment commission.
The two were fired the day that corporation officials learned of the commission grievance, Long said.