Judge Colleen Sterne | Credit: Paul Wellman (file)

Raytheon Company, the defense contractor with offices in Goleta, experienced a significant procedural defeat in court this week, as Judge Colleen Sterne rejected the company’s motions in Santa Barbara County Superior Court to toss out a racial harassment and retaliation complaint filed by Marcus Greene, fire marshal for the company’s environmental services department. Sterne ruled that there were many triable issues of fact and interpretation still to be sorted out, rejecting the company’s voluminous filings that there were neither. 

Greene, according to Sterne’s ruling, has alleged that a fellow employee placed a photo of a gorilla at Greene’s workplace on multiple occasions. Greene is Black and alleges the photos were used to mock his race. Greene alleged that this employee — and several other workplace managers and co-workers — had participated in creating a hostile, racist work environment. He also accused them of ignoring communications regarding fire safety. When Greene brought this to the attention of company higher-ups, he charged, the company recalibrated his job duties, effectively demoting him. 

Raytheon has denied that any of the individuals named by Greene, in fact, supervised him; they also deny that he was demoted or suffered any loss in pay or that he was demoted. Company attorneys filed a summary judgement motion against Greene, arguing there were no triable issues of fact or law to be resolved. 

Sterne disagreed, saying there were triable issues of fact, law, and interpretation still to be addressed. Effectively, that means Greene can proceed to move his case forward, not that he has won. Had Sterne ruled otherwise, the case would have been dead. 

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