Topics / COURTS : Neither Side Cheers Bias Case Ruling


In a decision cheered by neither side, a Superior Court jury agreed last week that Pasadena City College violated civil rights law by hiring a Japanese American professor over a white man.

But the jury refused to award any monetary damages, rejecting the contention that race was directly involved in the employment.

Leon J. Waszak, 39, contended that if race had not been a factor, he would have been chosen from four finalists for a job teaching American and European history when he applied in late 1990. His suit asked for $300,000 in back pay and benefits he would have received if he had been hired.

The Alhambra jury disagreed. But it decided that the college should pay Waszak’s legal fees, which displeased college officials. They are considering an appeal.


“Overall, the result was positive insofar as we were not forced to hire Dr. Waszak or pay him any back pay,” said Jack A. Scott, president of Pasadena City College. “But certainly it was a mixed message.”

Scott said the jury’s decision may have been swayed by evidence that a PCC selection committee member wrote on a rating sheet that a candidate’s Asian background was an extra qualification. That member, Enrique Orozco, testified that his comment meant it was good to have a minority candidate.

The full-time history instructor position eventually went to Richard Imon, who was younger and less experienced than Waszak. According to news reports, PCC terminated Imon in 1992, a short time after he was hired.

Waszak said he is also considering filing an appeal.